Women’s Rugby Remains a Dominant Force in Club Sports
After a remarkably successful 2017-18 season, the Marist College Women’s Rugby (MCWR) team is off to a commanding start to kick off this year.
Last fall, the team placed sixth in the Elite Eight National tour- nament in Annapolis, MD. In the spring, MCWR finished 17-3; they also placed first in the Tri-State 7s Tournament, and they placed second in the Beast of the East tourna- ment in Rhode Island, which exclusively featured teams from the East Coast. The team was even invited to the National 7s Tournament, but were unable to go because of scheduling issues.
The group has shown no signs of slowing down this season. In its first game, the MCWR dominated in a 56-5 win over Siena College, with sophomore Arianna Blanchard scoring three tries. Siena and Marist share a fierce rivalry, so this game was especially important.
“We kind of have a vendetta against them,” Logan Stevens ‘19 said. Last Sunday, the team also beat the SUNY Albany Great Danes for the first time in years in a decisive 34-10 victory. Caisi Hecht ‘20 currently leads the team in tries, racking up four in the past two games.
MCWR lost eight seniors coming into this season, and while play- ers admit that the adjustment has been somewhat difficult, they also believe that they are adapting to the changes quickly and successful- ly. “They were all so talented and skilled, and they worked so hard,” Hecht said of her former teammates.
The team believes that the support and care from head coach Maren Milliard and assistant coaches Kara Chamberlain and Danielle Hundt has been critical to its suc- cess.
“Our coaches are amazing, and they really care about us individu- ally and how we do as a team,” Shae Kelly ‘19 said.
The players also have remark- able team chemistry, both on and off the playing field, Hecht added.
“We spend all our time together, and we literally do everything to- gether,” Hecht said. “Because we’re all friends off the field, we’re like a very big family, and that translates into playing.”
One of the girls’ main goals for this season is to maintain their strong bond, as they believe it is a vital component of their success. They welcomed 10 rookies this season, so it’s fair to assume that the veterans will look to establish strong relationships with these new players in order to keep up the camaraderie.
Three more games remain for MCWR this fall, one of which is against Vassar College, another one of Marist’s most competitive rivals. During Tri-State’s opening week- end, they shut out SUNY New Paltz in a decisive 117-0 victory. Gabriela Ortega 19’ says that beating Vassar is one of the team’s main goals for this year.
“They were in the bracket above us at Beast of the East, so we really want to win that one,” Ortega said.
MCWR will close off the regular season on Oct. 7 when they face off against New Paltz.