A week after defeating Wheeling Jesuit, the University of Michigan rugby team followed up with an impressive 18-0 shutout of Notre Dame.
While this isn't exactly a massive winning streak or an upset of BYU or Cal, it is an indication that the Wolverines are improving.
Head Coach Matt Trenary, who used to work for USA Rugby in Boulder, Colo., is hoping the reasons behind the team's improvement are long-term.
"We're definitely better than we have been in the past," Trenary told RUGBYMag.com. "The results are simply a reflection of the amount of work the guys are putting in. The top teams in the country are that way because they put in the best and most work, and we're trying to get there."
Trenary said he has learned that good coaching at the college level is a 12-month-a-year job. He has the players in the weight room, following a nutrition plan, studying film, and keeping up on their academics.
"All that before they get to practice," he said. "If all of those things go well, then maybe you can put in a good performance on game day."
Trenary said he and the team are fully aware that Michigan is one of the poster children for well-heeled, high-population schools that don't garner rugby accolades.
"The reasons why Michigan should be better than we have been may be different than what people think," he said. "I do know that the size of school isn't a direct influence on how good a school's rugby team is. All we can do is do the best what what we have to work with."
Athletics is a big part of the Michigan culture, but that doesn't automatically mean rugby players gravitate there.
"It's been taking people here a long time to catch up with the Joneses, but we've been doing a lot of work off the field, getting alumni support, and working with the administration," said Trenary. "It took us a while, but we have a nice field that is used for rugby about 90% of the time. We can have it pretty much when we want it."
The team has always had access to the wright room, but it will now be available during off hours to give them exclusive access times. Little changes like that help.
Performing well on the field helps, too, and Friday's result featured an impressive team performance.
"Having people who want to make tackles, that will keep you in most games," said Trenary. "We did play well as a team."
Sequoyah Burke-Combs is a wing who moved to flanker and has energized the defense as he covers the field. Flyhalf Joel Conzelmann has taken over the backline.
"Joel has allowed us to put in a game plan in less than a week and execute it," said Trenary.
Center Christian Menzer is a 5th year senior who is playing well and Kenny Andutan and Chris Padmos have done well as co-captains, leading by example.
Next up for Michigan is Purdue in their Big Ten Conference opener. The Big Ten will certainly be a tough test as they try to build, but their last two results will certainly have their opponents' notice.