The women’s rugby team traveled to New Orleans to compete in the Mardi Gras Rugby Tournament. The team played three games. They lost the first game against University of Central Florida (UCF) (0-22) but won against Southern Illinois University (SIU) (47-0) and Tulane University (22-0).
Club President and sophomore physical education major Mauresa Caire thought the team played extremely well.
“To begin, when we played UCF it was our first game,” Caire said. “So, a lot of the girls, it was a lot of the girls’ first game altogether. So, for them to come out and play them (UCF) to begin with, it was very impressive. I thought we played very well. Out of all the teams there, we definitely kept up with them the most. I think the final score with them was 22-0… and I think all the other teams, they (UCF) beat them by like at least 40 something points. So, I think all in all we played really well in the first game even though we lost. Then we played SIU and we won… I think we did phenomenal. We just continued to improve throughout the day, even though everyone was starting to get tired and I think it really showed how much everyone wanted to be there and how much everyone wanted to play. We played Tulane… I think they were… a pretty close match for us and I thought, again, we played very well. We definitely controlled the game in both SIU and Tulane. We controlled the pace and it really showed on the field… We played with a lot of rookies this weekend and so they were able to definitely step up and take it to the next level because a lot of these teams that we played were teams that we will see in like nationals for DII and so for us to come out and beat them, it was a good step forward for us.”
There were a few things that Caire noticed the girls need to work on before their next game.
“I think since it was a lot of the girls’ first games, a lot of them were timid and kind of hesitant to tackle…,” Caire said. “So, I think we can definitely work on like our aggressiveness and speed and being able to turn over from offense to defense a lot quicker and definitely learn the game a little bit more. Obviously, it’s their first game so they still have so much to learn. Everyone’s always learning. But yeah, just in general I think just working on being more aggressive and quick on our feet.”
Rilla Rugby had a few girls from the Fayetteville Arkansas Women’s team join them for the tournament and, according to Caire, they were able to help out the Gorillas and give them pointers for future games.
Caire hopes to see the team enter their next game with the same energy and excitement as they did in the games in New Orleans.
“… I’m looking to see… everyone… come back out and show that same eagerness and drive and motivation to be there,” Caire said. “Unfortunately, our game this weekend against UCM was cancelled… So, we won’t play until the 25th of February. But yeah, I’d just like to see our numbers come out. I think we drove to New Orleans with around 15 of our girls. So, I’m hoping to continue increasing our numbers.”
Caire is looking forward to the rest of the season.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how far our team goes,” Caire said. “… Obviously, we are definitely a team that has kind of caught the spotlight since this is our first year and we are already looking at being first in our division and going to nationals which is something to be proud of for us.”
Rilla Rugby is always looking for new members.
“…If anyone is wanting to join, just give us a shout,” Caire said. “We are always looking for girls so don’t be shy. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you know.”