Furman finishes runner up in 13-team SRC 7s tournament
UNC-Charlotte slipped past Furman 24-19 to claim the championship of the first of three of the Southern Rugby Conference 7s tournaments this spring.
Thirteen teams participated in the tournament which was hosted by the Citadel. The Paladins won their first game in convincing fashion sweeping past Wake Forest 26-0. In the late-morning game, Furman played UNC-Charlotte, the surprise team of the tournament, to a 19-19 tie.
A lunchtime match against the host Cadets was physical and spirited, but the Paladins, using some nifty passing, pulled away late for a 26-12. In the final game of pool play, the Paladins faced rival Coastal Carolina. The Paladins led by two trys at halftime, but Coastal climbed back in to the game knotting the game at 12-12 before sophomore Mike Sharpe, playing in his first 7s tournament, put CCU away with a try as time expired.
In the semi-finals, Sharpe, a Paladin football convert, struck again. Furman faced UNC-Wilmington in a back-and-forth affair with the game tied 14-14 after regulation. The Paladins kicked off deep to the Seahawks in sudden death extra time and forced a turnover that resulted in another game-saving try by Sharpe.
In the finals Furman matched up against UNCC. On trys from Miles Lerner and Ryan Conlogue, the Paladins held a 12-10 lead over the 49ers at the break. UNCC answered with a try early in the second half to give UNCC a 17-12 lead. With 1:20 remaining in the game, Furman captain Patrick Musua scored under the posts to put the Paladins up 19-17. But UNCC answered with a try on the final play of the contest to preserve 24-19 win in the championship.
Furman finished 4-1-1 on the day.
“It was an absolutely amazing start to our rugby 7s season,” said Sevens Coach Mike Miller. “We had some very good wins against top opponents. Moreover, we were able to get everyone a lot of pitch time. We’ll continue to work to improve, but this was a great start.”
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