By Zach Goulson
What a tournament. A tournament of many emotions, but the most important one was the euphoria that came after a goal line stand, punctuated by a nice grab from freshman Wesley Chen. Perhaps what made that moment so exciting was the adversity that we fought through to get there.
I was concussed about 6 points into our second game on Saturday. Forced to watch from the sidelines as we seemingly had no spark against UMass. And then watched as Jonathan Paruk, our d-line leader, went down with an ankle injury in a 15-10 loss to UNC. The defense was without two of its mainstays heading into a pre- quarters game against Luther. However, as a sideline observer, you would have thought that the d-line had their full squad the way they pulled out four breaks against a Nationals caliber team. MagnUM really carried that momentum into our quarterfinal game against Harvard, who had beaten us handily at QCTU.
Our defense came out hot against Harvard and put them on their heels early, but the offense couldn’t quite convert. Each team had a break in the first half and one in the second half, and we finally won the game on universe point. Next up was Minnesota. The o-line came out of the gates hot and looked unstoppable. On the seventh point of the game with the game tied 3-3, Matt Orr (an All-Region player) went down with a torn ACL. At that point, the spirits of the team took a sharp dip. In the face of adversity the sidelines went silent and the score was all of a sudden 11-6, with Minnesota up five breaks. Even now, I really have no idea what happened. Somewhere we found a spark and the team ignited on that field, playing with all of the confidence in the world. MagnUM put together a six-nothing run to take the lead, and Minnesota’s sidelines looked devastated. We won the game on our second straight universe point. A finals matchup against Pitt, who had just run right through North Carolina (#1 seed), loomed in the distance.
Pitt came at us strong and broke the first point, a break that would hold until we broke twice before half. Both teams took some breaks in the second half, but we had the game in our hands with a goal line opportunity to break Pitt for the win. After multiple questionable calls on game winning throws and catches, Wesley Chen made a remarkable catch (https://vine.co/v/MMtlYmhTODg) to win the weekend for MagnUM. This score concluded a red zone stand that defined our weekend and our newfound team mentality. Grit and grind. That’s what we are bringing to Nationals, and that’s MagnUM. Look out.