Team Captain Turner Morsches was named the Furman Rugby Team’s 2013-14 Most Valuable Player Monday night at the Furman Club Sports Banquet.
More than a 150 students, coaches and administrators attended the annual dinner, which was held in the Trone Student Center and hosted by the Department of Recreational Sports.
Morsches, a junior from Indiana, has started at inside center since his freshman year. He has served as team captain for two years. Senior Eric Dolan, a New York native, was named most valuable back. Big and physical, Dolan has played outside center and fullback this season. During the awards ceremony, Head Coach John Roberts lauded Dolan for his defensive skills and his ability to inspire the team with hard-hitting stops.
Trent Pannell, a junior from Sumter, S.C., was named most valuable forward. Pannell has started at lock and completed some spot duty at prop during his three years on the Paladin team. Roberts said Pannell’s leadership, dependability and solid, consistent play helped the young Furman forwards to improve throughout the year. Freshman Ryan Conlogue, a first-year player from California, was named rookie of the year. Conlogue plays wing, scored many tries in his first season and is the Paladin’s fittest player.
Nick Rossano, a sophomore from Greer, S.C., was awarded the Paladin Award, the most prestigious recognition as it is bestowed to the player who does the most for the team on and off the field. Rossano, last year’s most valuable forward, suffered a season-ending concussion during an August all star game in Charleston.
The freakish and unlucky collision caused cranial bleeding. Rossano was hospitalized for more than a week and missed some time at school. Though ineligible to play, Rossano attended most practices when he was able and assisted with scoreboard and touch-running duties during home games. He also met with many recruits and their families and attended many away games.
Furman completed the fall 2013 season with a third-place finish in the 12-team Southern Rugby Conference. The squad returns 13 of 15 starters next year. The Paladins are still playing 7s and will travel to Boone, N.C. April 19 to compete and the third and final Southern Rugby Conference qualifier.
(rugby ball image compliments of Shutterstock.com)