Baylor Rugby defeats Texas Tech, earns spot in conference division title game

Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Darrell Harris | Reporter

The Baylor Rugby club (7-1) continued its winning season Saturday afternoon with a 42-15 victory against Texas Tech (1-5), solidifying their claim to the Red River conference’s north division title. The Bears will compete in the conference championship game on April 1 to try and earn a shot at a National Championship.

After a competitive start to the game, where neither team fully took control, the Bears used a strong second half to pull away from the Red Raiders. The Baylor rugby club’s defense stood against the Texas Tech attack, only allowing one score in the second half. This was the fourth consecutive match in which the Bears have held their opponents to 15 points or less. Over that four-game span, the Bears have outscored their opponents by a staggering 125 points, which is an encouraging stat heading into to postseason play.

A stoppage in play interrupted the action in the second half Saturday although because senior fly half Parker Vincent went down with an injury. This injury for Vincent, normally a a key contributor, will likely factor into the outcome of the match heading into the conference championship game.

Vincent was named Red River conference player of the month for October earlier in the season. Head coach Mason Hering said his position and role on the team are important to the game.

“At [fly half], you really have to organize the team and manage the flow of the game,” Hering said. “We worked really hard over the summer preparing him for the switch and it’s paying dividends.”

Luckily for the Bears, the game was already out of reach after Vincent went down and Baylor capped off the victory nonetheless.

This contest was a much different match than the previous meeting between the Bears and the Red Raiders who played each other in their first game of the season on Oct. 1, 2016. The Baylor rugby club won that match with a narrow 3-point margin of victory, 29-26.

Since that game, the two teams’ seasons have gone in opposite directions. This did not diminish the level of competition in Saturday’s game, as both teams fought until the final whistle was blown.

It also should be noted that the Texas Tech rugby team is still reeling from the loss of one of their captains, Quinn Noel, who passed away earlier this month.

“They seem to be getting increasingly focused as time passes,” said Texas Tech head coach Philip Terrigno regarding how his players have rebounded from the incident.

Up next for the Bears, they will begin to prepare for their Conference Championship on April 1 against LSU (5-0).