Rugby remains undefeated throughout entire season

Edward Rudman — Contributor

Toughness, execution and camaraderie — these are all the things to expect to see when watching the women’s rugby team play, according to first year head coach Dylan Turner. The rugby team’s season is well underway, as they are currently undefeated 4-0 and are in the middle of one of their most successful seasons to date.

“The season has been really good; I didn’t have any expectations coming into it, since I’m a new coach and new team,” said Turner. “If I did have expectations, they would have exceeded them. I have no doubt about that.”

In the four games they have played so far, the team has won by a combined and staggering 202-5 against their opponents. When it comes to their success this year, Turner credits it to their practice ethic and how well they play as a team.

“They listen; they follow the structure and strategy very well. We have a really good defensive structure in place, and they play really hard,” said Turner.

Their first game of the season was against The University of Massachusetts Lowell on Sept. 28, where they won 24-0. They followed this victory up with a win against Providence College on Oct. 5, winning 53-5.

The Owl’s largest victory of the season came in their third game, when they played against Merrimack College on Oct. 19. They put on a dominating performance and won 115-0 in game played nearly 150 miles from their home field. Morgan McClain, a senior outside center, has been with the team since her freshman year and said this is one of the best and most successful teams she has been on.

“This season has really been about us playing together, and we mesh so well,” said McClain. “We graduated nine of our starters from last year, and we were kind of worried it would be a rebuilding year for us, but it’s been really great.”

Their fourth game was last week on Oct. 26, against Middlebury in another away matchup.

They came out victorious once again, winning by a slightly closer margin 10-0. Since the rugby team is a club, they must raise money themselves. Throughout the season, they have hosted fundraisers at Chipotle and Pokémoto, where, if one mentioned the team at the register, part of the proceeds would go towards the team.

Tori Barbieri, a senior scrum-half and captain of the team, said they would like to get one more fundraising event going before the end of the year in the winter and will continue to host events in the spring during their non-competitive season.

Owls head coach Lisa Barbaro said she credits the team for their effort to get better this season amidst the health concerns that have plagued the team all year, despite their loss.

“We’ve been making some big strides, and then sometimes where I think we take some steps forward, we tend to take some steps back,” said Barbaro. “It’s been a real struggle this year, because it’s just like when we think we’re getting the team back [to being] healthy and ready to go, we come into practice that day and somebody is sick, or someone is out injured.”

As a result, Barbaro mentioned that it has affected the team’s chemistry on the field which has resulted in the drop in wins this season. The Owls fall to a 9-13 overall record and 2-4 in the NE10 conference. With seven games left in the regular season, the Owls aim to bounce back to winning ways in their next game against Adelphi on Oct. 19.

“We just got to get back on track. We still have a lot of conference games left, so we can’t let this one get to us.” said Chambers. “We can only learn from our mistakes and get better so that it doesn’t happen again in the other important matches.”

The women went on to face Keene State in New Hampshire on Saturday, winning by way of dominating. In the team’s final game of the year, the women’s rugby team beat Keene State 51-5, crowning themselves champions of the Tier II Northeast Conference.

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