Women’s rugby club begins season with higher expectations

Noelina Rissman

The ISU Women’s Rugby Club is gearing up for the oncoming season after their recent victory at the Wayne State tournament last weekend.

Last fall season, the rugby club had a 2-1 conference record. The club went to the USA Rugby Regional Championships and ended up placing 10th nationally.

With the prior season in mind, the club members had high expectations for themselves and some goals in mind before beginning the tournament. 

“We went into the Wayne State tournament with motivations to win,” said Elizabeth Reding, junior in biology and co-vice president of the club. “We had our minds set on winning from the moment we set foot on the pitch the first day. This was our first time really playing together after some of our seniors graduated in December and after gaining a few players. So one of our biggest goals was to find out how we all played together and get into a rhythm.”

The club defeated last year’s champions 25-0 during the first game and was able to find its rhythm and mesh well for the rest of the tournament, defeating three other teams to take the championship.

“As a team, we were really able to figure out our best style of play and that allowed us to really work well together,” Reding said. “Our forwards and backs started to work together, which was one of the best things that happened that weekend.”

With expectations to continue improving their style of play and to continue winning, the team has several more tournaments lined up for the rest of the spring season.

“We have some pretty big holes to fill when our seniors graduate this May,” Reding said. “So we are focusing on developing everyone to the best of their abilities and we aren’t afraid to move people to new positions to find what works the best. Mostly, this season is to look forward and get ready for next fall, especially after the success we had this previous fall.”

Reding had a few words to say to women interested in joining the team. 

“I would just like to mention that we are always recruiting and we have a lot of fun,” Reding said. “Our team dynamic has improved so much, just in the last two years that I have been here personally. We are constantly looking to get better and improve ourselves but also have fun playing the game we love.”

Rugby isn’t only for those who are veterans to the game. Anyone is welcome to try it out even if they don’t have previous experience.

“I decided that I wanted to try something new and I wanted to challenge myself physically,” said Laura Meany, junior in agricultural studies. “Since joining the team in August, I have not only gained knowledge of the sport but it has also made me improve my time management skills. … I joined rugby with the hopes of learning a new sport and I continue to stay in it because of the love of the team and the game.”  

And the whole concept of support from newfound friends seems to be a recurring theme from member to member, one that can have lasting impact.

“The whole game of rugby is about teamwork and support,” said Lillian Bramlet, freshman in mechanical engineering who has been playing rugby since seventh grade. “And with the people you meet through rugby, you’ll always be friends with [them]. My team is my main group of friends, my support system. My coach is crazy inspirational and I believe we really learn a lot from each other. For the most part, we just understand each other on a level that we don’t or can’t even consciously grasp or understand.”