Bulls will battle Batavia, hope to remain undefeated


The Bulls (blue) and Noble (tan) scrummage during their match at the Chicago Blaze rugby pitch on April 11. Credit: Alex Kimberling

Izy Scott, Assistant Pulse Editor

UPDATE: This story was written prior to the match on Friday night. The Bulls beat Batavia 39-14 and improved to 5-0.

The West Suburban Bulls Rugby Varsity team will play one of its biggest games of conference play this Friday May 1 against Batavia, with a current undefeated record of 4-0.

“The game we have coming up will definitely be the hardest game we have all year,” Forward and Captain Mitch Ciszewski ’15 said.

Sick for the past three games against Noble, Lake County and Glen Ellyn, Ciszewski will return for the Batavia game, although his absence did not stop the Bulls from defeating Noble and Lake County by 45 and 50 points respectively. However the Glen Ellyn game on April 22 proved a tougher battle for the Bulls, who only gained a victory by seven points.

“It always does [have an impact] when you’re missing a player that good,” head coach Larry Zeno said of Ciszewski. “But we have a pretty deep team, especially his position, so we were able to fill in. We didn’t miss a heartbeat.”

The Bulls will forge ahead take Batavia head-on this Friday, where a half-season’s hard work could earn the players a win before heading into playoffs this May. Many players from the team won a state title during their eighth grade Rugby careers and at the frosh/soph level accomplished a state qualification, ending in a loss to Brother Rice. With this history under their belts, including taking third-place to Downers Grove during the 2013-14 season, the varsity team has a deep foundation.

“Coach (Zeno) helps mold the team into how he wants to see it, but the base was always there,”  prop Dan Fiszer ’15 said.

Ciszewski, who has been playing with Fiszer for six years, said the players on his team take on active leadership roles, as well.

“[Zeno] has been around the game for a while and knows what he’s doing,” Ciszewski said. “The coaches understand that the majority of the seniors have been around the game for a long time. We know what we’re doing and are very team and player-driven.”

The Bulls are composed of primarily LT students, which Ciszewski said adds to the team cohesion although a small handful of team members attend Hinsdale Central, Riverside Brookfield, and Nazareth academy. The Varsity team practices alongside the frosh/soph team, which also adds to the team’s depth.

“We’re one team but different squads, so when there’s one person missing from practice, we have extra kids to play that position,” Zeno said. “It’s very much a team-run practice. Everyone’s learning the same techniques and plays and on the same page.”

Many members have been playing together for multiple years, so team cohesion is a common theme for both the varsity and frosh/soph team, who were 3-0 after an April 2 game against Plainfield. Success from both ends of the team spectrum, the boys have a strong bond throughout their team.

“A rugby team is a brotherhood more than anything else,” Fiszer said. “I fully trust everyone on my team.”

Both teams are building towards a post season, and the Varsity squad will take on Batavia Friday in order to secure a goal of theirs to attain an undefeated season