By Lauren Trumbull
This article was originally published in Issue 13, Fiftieth Year of The Minstrel (April 14, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue.
It’s that time of year again to see people running up and down the intramural field by the freshman dorms, chanting and tackling one another in an intense game of rugby. April 2 kicked off rugby’s spring season for both the men’s and women’s teams.
The women’s team jumped right into the swing of things with a tournament at Muhlenberg College, where they played games against Lehigh University and Muhlenberg, Lafayette and Albright Colleges.
“We didn’t win any games,” said team captain and president Emily Ferraro, “but we came close in a few, and overall it was a fun time and we played extremely well for a team of mostly new players. We have improvements to make, but I’m really proud of our team.”
This past Saturday, the girls had a second tournament at Wesley College, where they played Franklin and Marshall College, Wesley College, Neumann University and Widener University.
As for the men’s team, they started off their season strong with a 12-5 win over Haverford College.
Unlike the men’s team, which does not have playoffs in the spring season, the women will play in the National Small College Rugby Organization qualifying tournament at Franklin and Marshall on April 16.
“Because women’s rugby isn’t too widespread yet, every team goes to the playoffs,” said Ferraro.
For the spring season, each team is given a number of points for each win, loss or tie at the tournaments. Teams are then seeded based on the number of points they have at the end of the first two tournaments.
Both the men’s and women’s teams have grown substantially in the ‘15-’16 academic year. Between the fall and spring, the women’s team has gained eight new players, which is the best turnout they’ve received since their team came together in 2013.
Similarly for the men, the team received around nine freshmen this year. Timothy Hofmeister, president of men’s rugby, attributes this to the annual Bulldog Bash.
“Every year we have [gained] more recruits there and it is all thanks to the guys who care about the club and are willing to give back, especially when recruiting,” said Hofmeister.
The men’s team not only gives back by recruiting, but also by aiding the women’s team. When the women started in 2013, the men helped them financially, and gave them their jerseys as well as their hit bags to use until the team got on their feet. Currently, the men’s team continues to help the women in coaching. This year, players Dalton Walling and Joe Grant help coach the team alongside Ferraro.
“Since I’m a player, too, and also have to practice, the men’s team is fantastic and really supports us and helps with our practices,” said Ferraro.
Unfortunately for fans this season, the opportunity to watch a game is slight. Due to scheduling conflicts and tournaments, the men and women’s teams only have one home game, on April 30.
“We had two home games and two road games, but the team we were supposed to play on [April 2] canceled and we had to scramble to find an opponent, and Haverford graciously hosted us,” said Hofmeister.
“[Tournaments] are based on location and who can get the most space. Some schools have a more established team and therefore have more experience organizing and running tournaments than newer teams,” said Ferraro.
Until April 30, students can catch a glimpse of the team at practice. Men practice from 4-6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and the women practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5-7 p.m.