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CCU rugby team places third in state tournament

November 5, 2010

Coastal Carolina University's rugby team finished third in the annual statewide Palmetto Tournament this past weekend in Greenville, losing only to Clemson, who won the Division I tournament.

Coastal Rugby played three games in the tournament, beating the University of South Carolina (USC) and Furman University.

Club sports are not affiliated with the University's athletic department and are governed by the Department of Campus Recreation.

"As a department and a program, we are proud of the rugby club for defeating larger Division I schools and placing third in the tournament," said Max Mello, director of the University's 20 sport clubs. "We are looking forward to a successful spring season when the club is expected to shine in league play."

CCU's first game was against longtime rival Furman University. The Chanticleers scored two tries within the first five minutes of the game. Alex Nazon scored the first on a penalty play, while Clay Haley scored the second just seconds after a long run and pass by Sam Ghannam on the ensuing kickoff. Justin Williams scored the third, fourth and fifth tries of the half, making the score 29-0 at halftime. Furman was able to punch one in during the second half, but Coastal cruised to a 29-5 victory.

Two hours later, Coastal Carolina was back on the rugby pitch facing Clemson. The first 15 minutes of the game produced hard hits and zero points for both teams. A combination of Clemson's excellent kicking game, lucky bounces and CCU mistakes led to a 21-0 deficit at halftime. CCU held Clemson scoreless in the second half and was poised to rally on a penalty play by Alex "A-Train" Nazon until Clemson stopped Nazon at the goal line. Coastal's Stephen Pease snuck a try in on a separate penalty play, but the Chanticleers fell short 21-5.

On Sunday, Coastal defeated the Gamecocks by a score of 25-5. Freshman Shaquille Malcolm scored his first two tries as a Coastal student, while Tyler Stiffler added the first try of his career during the early morning game. Veterans Clay Haley and Stephen Pease added the other two tries during the victory.