Chellzea Edger, '17, rucks over her teammate to maintain St. Mike's possession of the ball.
For the second year in a row Saint Michael’s women's’ rugby made it to the Sweet 16 round of national playoffs in Kutztown, Pa. This year the club team succeeded one step further, winning against Eastern Kentucky University 69-14 on the first day of the tournament, progressing to the Elite Eight, a first in St. Mike’s rugby history. The Lady Knights ended their playoff journey by losing 22-17 to Coast Guard Academy Sunday November 20.
“It's a fantastic accomplishment by a fantastic team. It's absolutely fun and exciting to see everyone with this passion and desire to play as a team,” said Coach Charles Cisco. The team closed out a successful regular season with a 5-0 record, winning against Roger Williams University 26-17, for the Rugby Northeast title. They won a top seed spot in the playoffs against University of New Hampshire’s team, which decided to forfeit the game, causing St. Mike’s to seize a spot in the national Sweet 16 playoffs.
Saturday of the playoffs the team cleaned up against Eastern Kentucky University 69-14. Enny Mustapha, ’17, scored four tries. Molly Maliska, ’17, and Caroline Halpin, ’18, scored two tries each. Caroline Smith, ’17, Katie Wheeler, ’19, and Chellzea Edgar, ’17, each scored a try as well. Ashley Cook, ’17, made six conversions and Polly Corbett, ’19, made one conversion.
Sunday St. Mike’s battled in blistering wind for possession of the ball against Coast Guard Academy. Both teams had multiple attempts at scoring, but the ball was held up numerous times. Coast Guard won 22-17. In the game Smith scored two tries and Mustapha scored one. Cook scored one conversion.
The women’s rugby club has been strong for years at Saint Michael’s. Three of the past five seasons the women have won the Rugby Northeast Championship title. This year 11 seniors were in the starting lineup, five of which started playing their first year fall together, never thinking they would end up where they did.
“This season has definitely been one for the books. We have been undefeated champions two years in a row, and have made Saint Michael’s athletic history. It’s a pretty good feeling,” said Alessandra Santone, ’17, scrum captain who started playing in fall 2013. “Our team dynamic is what made winning possible. We work hard on and off the field, still finding time for fun. This has definitely been the most fun and rewarding season. I wish the team all the best in the future.”