Women place first in National Rugby Tournament

GVL Archive
A Lady Laker takes a hit during a past game

GVL Archives

GVL Archive A Lady Laker takes a hit during a past game

During the weekend, the Grand Valley State University women’s rugby club won two games in the National Rugby Tournament, the first by 92 points. The tournament’s first round, hosted by GVSU on the newly-finished turf fields, showcased both men’s and women’s teams from seven schools.

The women’s rugby club (8-0) defeated Ball State University in blowout fashion during the first round of the tournament, 92-0. The Lakers, ranked No. 2 in the nation, used their experience against the Cardinals and kept the offensive advantage through the end of the game.

“The women’s team played well together this weekend, they played as a group, everything was clicking,” said GVSU women’s assistant coach Abe Cohen. “The competitors are all very physical teams, but we’re more physical. Our team bent but they didn’t break today.”

However, GVSU scrum half Emma Pesci said the game was not an easy win.

“Both teams this weekend were pretty good competition,” said Pesci, a junior. “I never felt like we were up by a lot, just because of the high level of play that they were at. We just got lucky getting around their back end. We could stand to clean up our game a little bit, but we did a pretty good job here this weekend.”

The first round was not quite as easy for the men. The Lakers (6-1) faced Northern Illinois University, and in the face of a strong opposing effort on offense and defense the Lakers fell 29-8.

The women’s club moved on to defeat Slippery Rock University in the finals of the tournament, winning narrowly 10-7. The game was locked at 0-0 for much of the first 40-minute half, and in the last 10 minutes, Slippery Rock pulled off a placed penalty kick to get on the board. GVSU retaliated with a 5-point try, ending the first half 5-7.

Early in the second half, the Lakers followed through with a more offensive set of plays, scoring another try. They kept the pressure on until the end, and finished 10-7, and with a first-place ranking in the tournament.

“The team we played had one freshman and the rest were juniors and seniors, so we knew to expect a really good game,” said GVSU women’s head coach Bob Richthammer. “We started seven freshmen and made some mistakes. I’m happy our younger players recovered from the mistakes that they made, and we got the victory. I felt like this was the toughest game we played in the playoffs.”

This weekend’s wins allow GVSU to enter the next round of the competition, and will result in a favorable placing for the team when they return in two weeks.

“I think that our younger players got a taste of what a tough game is, because most of our games have been blowout victories,” Richthammer said. “I think the biggest thing for us is to improve as a team and attention to detail. Considering that half of our squad is freshmen, I have to give them kudos for being able to hold off the opposition. It was a good weekend.”

[email protected]