Tritons hang tough with national power

Tritons hang tough with national power

OCT 28, 2018

BY: ERIC PRATT, The Messenger Sports Editor

http://www.messengernews.net/sports/local-sports/2018/10/tritons-hang-tough-with-national-power/

 

The Iowa Central rugby team continues to bridge the gap between itself and the nation's elite.

The Div. II Tritons suffered a 50-34 setback against third-ranked (Div. 1A) Lindenwood on Saturday in the program's 2018 home finale.

"It was a terrific effort against a phenomenal program," ICCC head coach Brent Nelson said. "Lindenwood is a traditional power at the 1A level. Our guys are peaking at the right time and really believing in each other.

"This was like getting a win."

Iowa Central took the lead on two different occasions in the second half before Lindenwood pulled away and scored on a try as time expired while protecting a 45-34 advantage.

Michael Wildin, Ezra Ulberg, Chris Karamitros and Viance Vano all had tries for Iowa Central (2-5). Rhys Smith was 4-for-4 on conversion kicks and 2 of 3 on penalty kicks.

"We had so many guys play well and feed off each other's energy," Nelson said. "Jerviny Kamaya got his first start and really elevated his game. It's great to see us playing our best at the end of the year. Now, we just hope it's enough for a (D-2) at-large playoff berth."

The Tritons have lost four times to rated 1A opponents this season: No. 3 Lindenwood, ninth-ranked Arkansas State, No. 16 Davenport and 17th-ranked Wisconsin.

Nelson thanked his sophomores, who "really helped pave the way during our national championship season and now in the transition (to D-2)."

"We really appreciate what they've done for our program and how they've represented it on and off (the pitch)," Nelson said. "They've helped pave the way."

Iowa Central finds out its postseason fate on Sunday, Nov. 4. The Tritons captured the National Small College Rugby Organization Champions Cup title a year ago before moving up to the D-2 ranks.