18 Oct Women’s Rugby Opens with a 4–0 Start
The West Chester University women’s rugby team has gotten off to a blazing start to the 2021–2022 season. They are 4–0 following a 34–12 victory over American International College on Oct. 6.
After a disappointing 2020–2021 season in which they went 0–4 in limited action, the Golden Rams knew that they had a lot to prove as they look to return to their winning ways. The team certainly made a statement in their first two games, outscoring their opponents (University of New England and Colgate University) with a combined 174–14. While the last two games have been closer, West Chester has been firing on all cylinders and has shown that they are once again a force to be reckoned with.
“I am very happy with my team’s performance so far,” said junior Olyvia Eckard. “We’re currently 4–0, which I think is a very exciting accomplishment. I think our team’s mentality and determination this year is unmatched. I give a lot of credit to the captains, Bayla and Jules, and the coaches, because they did a great job at preparing us for the season. Although we are doing well, there is always room for improvement, so at each practice we work on something new and every player gives it their all.”
Eckard started playing rugby in her sophomore year of high school and says she chose West Chester because it made her feel at home.
“When I first met the team, they made me feel welcome right away. Our coach, Tony, did a great job of showing me the campus, and I fell in love,” she said. “Being able to see things like a practice and the athletic training rooms before deciding was very helpful for me and made it an easy choice to come to West Chester.”
For those who are not familiar with rugby, it is a high-intensity sport that mixes elements from football and soccer. The objective is to try and ground the ball behind the opponent’s try line and into the in-goal area. Rugby is a very physical sport that includes tackling, ruckling and scrums, the latter two being ways for teams to either keep the ball or try and steal it. There are many ways to score, as you can get four points on a try (equivalent to a touchdown in American football), two points on a goal kick, two points for a penalty, and one for a drop goal. Many matchups end up with plenty of offense and points scored between the two teams. Rugby can be played in the fall and spring, with teams of seven or fifteen.
The Golden Rams are back in action on Sunday, Oct. 23, at home against Phoenixville. This will be their last home game of the regular season as they close out on the road against Queens University of Charlottesville. Following these games, they will look to advance in postseason play for the first time since the 2019–2020 season, when they were 11-0 and won the NIRA Tier 2 Championship against Brown University. If you would like to find out more about the team, visit the West Chester Athletics website.
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