The UMass Dartmouth women’s rugby team won their sixth consecutive match this past Saturday in the first round of the Colonial Coast Rugby Conference playoffs. The team entered the playoffs with an undefeated record (5-0) and notched a 63-7 victory against Wentworth Institute of Technology at the university’s Rugby Pitch over the weekend.
“We’ve succeeded thus far because we play together as a team, not individuals,” said junior Nicholle Jackson, the team’s scrum-half. The scrum-half is the link between the forwards and the backs on the field.
The win sends the team to the Colonial Coast Rugby Conference Championship. The team will play at 2 p.m. this Sunday vs. Endicott College at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton, Massachusetts.
The team has dedicated long hours of practice and great effort to achieve success this season. This year the women’s team has experienced one of the best seasons in the rugby club’s history.
Comprised of 14 returning players and 11 new players, the Corsairs started their season in early September.
15 as 1
“15 as 1” has been the team’s unofficial slogan from the start of the season.
“We come to practice every day, motivate each other to work our hardest and be the best that we can be,” said sophomore Kelly Kryzak, the team’s full-back who also plays for the women’s lacrosse team at UMass Dartmouth. “It’s not just one single player on the team that gives us results. It’s every single person working as a unit, as a team, as one. We are 15 players on that field, but we have to play as one in order to come out on top.”
Founded in 2005, the Rugby Club has both a men’s and women’s team with each side improving by leaps and bounds from its humble beginnings. While the club spent its first eight years being self-run, this year marks the second year that each side has had their own head coach and a designated rugby pitch.
Jonathan Paull serves as the head coach for the men’s team. UMass Dartmouth alumna Victoria Thomas ‘14 serves as the Head Coach for the women’s team. Arthur Santini joined the club this year as a joint coach for the club, splitting his time between the two sides.
“With each game, each practice, each obstacle they overcome, they make me proud,” Coach Thomas said. “They make the strong women that have been a part of this rugby family since long before I played here proud.”
The young women who play rugby for UMass Dartmouth believe that the lessons learned on the field can carry over into their lives.
“The game is physical, but you also need constant teamwork and commitment on and off the field,” senior Co-Captain Samantha McIsaac said.
“Rugby is a combination of strength, speed and grace,” senior co-captain Stephanie Bond said. “The ladies who play on this team show these three characteristics every day whether it be on the field or in their own lives. Rugby has taught all of us about balance.”
The Colonial Coast Rugby Conference includes both men’s and women’s teams from UMass Dartmouth, Endicott College, Plymouth State, Salve Regina, Wheaton College, Wheaton College, Western New England, Wentworth, Johnson & Wales, and Western Connecticut University. The goal of the conference is to create stronger programs through traditional college rivalries and heightened awareness on campuses.