Katie Wheeler, '19, and Teresa DiTommaso, '17, make a tackle against UConn September 17, 2016.
Family, friends and alumni gathered ready for the 2015 Rugby Northeast Women’s Champions’ return to campus since their breakout 2015 season, where they ranked 7th in the nation. This week’s challenger: University of Connecticut, a top Division 1 rugby program.
Coach Charles Cisco in recent years has tried to get more competitive out of conference matches to help the team improve their post-season performance.
“Playing a team like UConn – last year’s Division 1 non-varsity champion – has helped us reach our goals,” Cisco said. “We learned a tremendous amount about our team in that game, our fitness, abilities, stamina and courage.”
The first 40 minutes were tiresome; UConn dominated the pitch scoring 4 tries and 2 conversions. At the half the score was 24-0. St. Michael’s gather on the sidelines to regroup and think through their game plan to proceed. Coach Cisco and captains Alessandra Santone, ’17, and Caroline Smith, ’17, reminded the team to remember the basics and “play our game.”
As the teams took to the field for the second half there was a renewed confidence for St. Michael’s. Katie Wheeler, ’19, scored within the first few minutes. From then St. Michael’s maintained possession of the ball for much of the second half with Enny Mustapha, ’17, and Smith each scored a try. Ashley Cook, ’17, successfully scored on two of her three conversion attempts. The game ended with UConn only maintaining a 5 point lead: 24-19.
“It was truly a game of two halves, and our adjustments in the second half allowed us to move the ball to score and to keep the scoring chances away from the opposition,” Cisco said.
The women’s rugby team will face six teams from within the Rugby Northeast conference and Bowdoin College, another out of conference, more challenging, competitor to get more practice for wherever the team goes next.
Follow the team's progress on their Facebook page.