By Amanda McShane
The Catholic University’s Women’s Rugby team is now ranked 2nd in the nation after going to the National Small Rugby College Organization (NSCRO) tournament this past weekend. They played against Salve Regina University in the final four and played Wayne State University for the national title. The tournament took place in Marietta, Georgia at Life University.
“We knew both teams would be gritty and physical matches, so it was really just preparing for that aggressive game-play,” said Kyle Prudence, one of the coaches. “We emphasized playing Catholic Rugby. At that level it comes down to the fundamentals and being able to crisply execute and communicate with your teammates.”
The team says their goals were mainly to play their best and have fun. Ally Massa, a junior, said, “Our team goal for the tournament, was to show what Catholic Rugby is and what we’re made of. Due to the fact that this was the first time Catholic has ever been this far in the NSCRO tournament, we wanted to demonstrate what we were capable of!”
The team first played against Salve Regina University on Saturday. They were down by 12 points during the halftime, however they persevered and scored a try the first 10 minutes of the second half. Elizabeth Eways, senior, scored another try after that.
“Leading up to my try, we had put together a bunch of really strong attacking phases, so I know soon but never thought I would be the one to do it,” Eways said.
When Salve Regina committed a penalty close to their try zone, Eways took the chance and scored a try, making the score 19-12. Catholic U advanced to the championship game against Wayne State on Sunday.
CUA Women’s Rugby team lost the game against Wayne State in the championship. The score was 67-12. Wayne State was difficult to beat, having won the national tournament 5 times for the past 7 years. Despite the loss, the team still had a positive attitude and had a great time, especially families who haven’t came to a game before. The team also accomplished its main goal: to just have fun and enjoy the experience.
Julianna Fullam, a senior on the team, said, “All of us kind of were in such amazement that we made it this far for the first time in our club’s history; we were trying to savor every little moment.”
“When we went into the game on Sunday, we tried to keep in mind that win or lose, we have had an outstanding season,” said senior Christina Peyroux. “We fought hard, we never gave up, and we had fun. That’s what matters in the end; not the score, not who scored, not who made mistakes.”
Last year, they made it to the Sweet 16s, coming close to Nationals, but now have made it to be ranked 2nd in NSCRO. Since then, they have grown as a team.
During the weekend of the tournament the team not only made good memories off the field, but also in the games.
“Rugby is so cool because we tackle each other on the field, but everyone is friends off the field no matter what,” said sophomore Julia Malcotti. “We were all from completely different areas of the US but rugby brought us together.”
NSCRO gave awards to six CUA players. Christina Peyroux was awarded for best defense. Courtney Gosse, senior, was awarded for Heart and Soul, for which she was nominated for by CUA Women’s Rugby coaches Alex Schaefer and Kyle Prudence. Julia Malcotti, Liz Demars, Ally Massa and Elizabeth Eways were awarded for the all tournament team. This award was given to 15 players from 4 teams.