Women’s rugby starts spring with 15’s slate

Matt GadSports Writer

Due to the size of its roster, the women’s rugby team does not switch to primarily rugby sevens in the spring semester, but instead, plays another 15s slate.

Saturday, they opened up spring play with a 30-7 loss to Eastern Connecticut State University, one of several games they have on the calendar for 15s play this season.

“We got some new girls in,” coach Chris Carvalho said. “It’s the same roster as in the fall but we have three new girls playing, who either transferred or just weren’t on the team before.”

The team, which also played in a sevens tournament this weekend, something Carvalho said they had to partake in just to maintain their standing in the league, has upcoming weekend games with UConn, Fairfield and New Haven, as well as the Beast of the East Tournament.

“We treat the Beast of the East as our spring playoff and the rest of the games are test matches. This fall we had a successful record and we played in a bowl game two years ago,” Carvalho said. “We just didn’t play this past year because it didn’t work out with scheduling.”

At the sevens tournament, they defeated Roger Williams 25-0 and Saint Michael’s 17-15 but they lost to Stonehill.

In the game against Eastern, much of the roster had not had a chance to play together before.

“It was a really great learning experience for the new girls to get out there and improve,” co-captain Kacie Gagner said.

She said that they are “optimistic” for the Beast of the East Tournament, which will take place in Portsmouth, Rhode Island this weekend.

“We will have our team split into two playing sides and we’re going to work hard and have a lot of fun,” she said. “Many of us missed rugby a lot and we love being back out there.”

In the fall, the team played six games, starting with a 36-17 defeat of Northern Vermont Sept. 2 and a 93-0 shutout win over Merrimack Sept. 30. Oct. 13 they beat Providence 39-10, Oct. 20 they defeated Middlebury, 27-14, and Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 they finished with a pair of losses to Bentley and Franklin Pierce.

“Rugby has the ability to get ridiculous, scoring wise,” Carvalho said. “We scored 93 points at one point this year.”

The team scored more than 70 points in back-toback games to open the 2017 fall season, defeating UMass Lowell, 71-19, Sept. 17 of that year and shutting out Merrimack, 76-0, one week later.

Carvalho said he once coached a high school game where 100 points were scored, which would mean the team came away with 20 tries and no successful conversion kicks.

“Sometimes a team just keeps scoring and you can’t stop it,” he said.

Scoring 93 points, like the team did this year, is certainly no easy feat in an 80-minute match, but it does show a lot of offensive execution and success.

However, in sevens play, teams play just two seven-minute halves, with a very quick halftime period, which is why the scoring totals are so much lower.

The team will also have another go with sevens action on April 19 at Yale. Following the Beast of the East and their games in consecutive weekends, the annual rivalry match with New Haven will take place May 4 at Kayo Field.

Photo Courtesy: Women’s Rugby

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