Young rugby squad to soar higher than previous seasons
The 2013 Grand Valley State University men’s club rugby season will start the same way it has for
the past 12 years—with John Mullet at the helm. Mullet, a former rugby player at Michigan State
University, has been the head coach of GVSU rugby since day one.
The veteran presence on the Laker sidelines is contrasted with a roster that, despite hosting seven
seniors, is considered young. GVSU returns seven starters in a season that shines with the potential
of a deep playoff run. Senior 8 Man Dave Giese mans a roster ripe with unexposed and explosive
“The 25 guys we have are all really high-spirited and high-energy guys who want to go hard all the
time,” Giese said.
Sophomore lock Thomas Sandwiche estimates that nearly half the squad is green when it comes to
collegiate experience. The Lakers have a mere 25 players on their roster, which ensures that the
inexperienced players will improve quickly on the pitch if they have any notions of competing this
In past seasons, the roster has featured closer to 40 athletes, which comes with the advantage of
being able to field intra-squad scrimmages. However, Giese has no qualms about the small roster
of the 2013 Lakers.
“We’d rather have 25 guys give it everything they’ve got than 40 who don’t really care,” he said.
Giese, who enters his final year of play, will be the backbone of the team as he looks to find the
quiet talent amongst this year’s group. Junior Jared Preston, sophomore flanker Dallas Davis, and a
plethora of other new faces will be counted on to fill the massive shoes of 12 graduated seniors
from last year’s team.
Where experience lacks for the Lakers, confidence abounds. The younger players, including
sophomore center Dylan Bergbower, are showing no trepidation as they believe they have what it
takes to craft an impressive campaign in 2013.
“We’re a very young team but we have a united goal to make a deep run in playoffs and make it to
nationals,” Bergbower said.
The Lakers start the fall season on Sept. 7 as they play host to Michigan State University. A strong
start is vital if GVSU wants to exceed the level it reached last year.
“We’re looking to run the table throughout our schedule,” Sandwiche said. “If we do that, we’ll be
the best Division II team in the state.”
All seven of GVSU’s regular season games are against other Michigan squads, and a clean sweep of
the schedule will leave no doubt as to who can lay claim to the crown of Michigan’s finest. The
robust schedule is highlighted by the looming match-up against the Spartans and a Sept. 28 battle
with rival Ferris State University.
The Lakers are coming off a 2012 campaign that ended in the Midwest Rugby Championship with a
souring 14-34 loss to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. GVSU had battled with
IUPUI twice previously in the regular season, splitting the series at a game apiece. The loss in the rubber match put an end to an impressive 7-3 season for the Lakers, which saw them fall just short of National Playoffs.