The Michiana Moose are off to one of the best starts in club history. Undefeated at 4-0 and coming off a big win over one of the rivals in Grand Rapids, Michiana is tied with Wisconsin for the best record among DII Midwest clubs.
If one were to ask around the Michiana clubhouse to find out what’s been working so well for this Moose team, the players could name a lot of different things. One of the main things has been the commitment from all the players in practices.
“The commitment this team has shown has been a big part of this team’s success,” Captain Will Mishler told RUGBYMag.com. “Everyone is really putting it on the line for the other 14 guys on the pitch with them. Everyone knows their roles and performs their roles without any animosity or griping. Everyone cares about one stat, and that’s the mark in the win column.”
Michiana has certainly taken advantage of that stat, putting a mark in it every weekend they have suited up. Moreover, it has been the productivity of the starting lineup despite a very different look in their appearances.
“It really is a sight to see, a picture of our club would look like a mix of an old boys club vs. a college team,” Mishler joked. “Our tight five probably has an average age of 36 and our backline is probably closer to around 23-24 with two 17-year-olds in key positions at scrumhalf and wing. Our scrumhalf is doing a great job of leading this team and our wing leads the Midwest in points”
Mishler went on to say despite their older look in appearance, the older guys have stepped up their games to compete. “All of the guys are tough, fit and capable in the set pieces and the loose,” he said.
Mishler said there are certainly similarities between this current Michiana team and the 2007-08 team that made the national DIII final.
“There are probably nine guys, including me, out of the starting 15 this year from that DIII finalist team,” Mishler said, who plays prop on the team this year. “The camaraderie this team has is a lot like what we had back in 2007. Everyone has the same attitude and respect towards each other on and off the pitch.”
This weekend, Michiana puts their record on the line against Toledo who has struggled a bit this year, but isn’t a team that should be taken lightly. After that, they get a chance to rest with a bye week.