Bowling Green opened its spring break tour with a 32-17 victory over the University of Maryland Sunday. The Falcons are on a three-game swing to the Mid-Atlantic area with a match on Tuesday against NOVA and a Friday evening game against West Virginia.
Saturday the club watched high schools clubs West End and Doylestown play in Springfield, Virginia. Bowling Green freshman and Rookie of The Year Mike Powell was Doylestown's scrumhalf last year.
Battling near freezing temperatures, Bowling Green needed the help of a stiff wind at their backs as they worked to knock off the rust of a long winter layoff. So far Bowling Green has only been able to practice outside just once while Maryland entered the game with three previous games under their belt including one with Virginia Tech just the evening before.
The rust on BG's offense was evident as Maryland outplayed the Falcons in the first half. The Falcons did shine on the defensive side of the ball including a nearly 10-minute goal line stand near the end of the half to preserve a 14-3 lead going into intermission.
Hooker Mike Brown picked off a pass and raced 50 yards for the game's first try. Then near the end of the half, the Falcons finished off a movement when prop Alex Garnaut helped flanker Justin Steven in for a try. Prop Dane Szente made both conversions.
Falcon center Trent Szente stunned the Terps by taking the second-half kickoff in for a score. That was quickly followed by a 75-yard dash by fullback Matt Marquette to put Maryland in a very deep hole, a hole that the Terps promptly started to fill. Down 24-3, Maryland used the wind in their favor while finally getting a handle on the previous day's fatigue (Maryland lost a close game to Virginia Tech Saturday) and punched in two converted tries to close the gap to 24-17.
With a couple of fresh legs at flanker, hooker, and lock, BG added another Stevens try and a penalty by Szente.
The trip isn't all rugby as the Bowling Green players have tours of the Capitol Building on Monday, a White House tour scheduled for Tuesday and will spend a day-and-a-half at the Gettysburg Battlefield.
“The rugby is the main reason we are here, but the destination was partially chosen when I found out how few of the players had been to Washington D.C., let alone Gettysburg. This being the 150th anniversary of the battle – it seemed like the right time to relive a little history,” said BGSU’s Roger Mazzarella.
“History has always been a sub-theme of these trips. We've gone to places as diverse as Bull Run, Agincourt, Yorktown, Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana, Brecon, York, Bath, Omaha Beach and Missionary Ridge. Travel can seem a little intimidating. I hope these trips are planting a seed that will pay off later in our players’ lives.”