By Kris Kelley, Staff Writer
The University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) Women’s Rugby Club ended the season with a 3-2 record, and fell one point short of the New England Rugby and Football Union’s (NERFU) Regional Tournament.
This does not mean that this season was anything short of a victory for the young team. The team has struggled in past seasons. “We’re never usually worried about looking at the standings, we’re usually just last,” said UMF Women’s Rugby Club President Emily Gray. “Last season we didn’t even win a game.” This season was a change for the team they came together well and achieved some great wins.
The season opener was a success for the Beavers, as they brought home a 29-5 win over Johnson State. The victorious Beavers would then have faced Lyndon State’s team, but Lyndon could not field enough players for a match, giving the UMF club a win-by-forfeit.
The team dominated the field taking on Castleton State and achieving another win in their third game. “We beat Castleton State,” said Gray. “They’re usually a powerhouse, but we ended up beating them 30-10.”
Going into game four, the Beavers were boasting an undefeated title. Being undefeated was something new for the team. By the end of the match, however, Colby-Sawyer’s team proved to be too much for UMF, winning 79-5 over the Beavers. “We were missing key players – [such as] Elizabeth McCabe, Brittany Bissell, Jackie Langevin, and [Coach] Woody wasn’t with us,” Gray said about the loss.
The season closed with a loss to the number one team in the division, the University of New England (UNE). The UNE team boasted an excellent record, “they were basically murdering teams, but we went into the game and played extremely well,” explained Gray. “We only lost 25-0, which is the least they scored all season. I think we really surprised them.”
While Gray could not pinpoint one particular thing that made this season’s cohort so successful she did say, “[Our success this season] was a result of all our new talented rookies and our coach.” Excitedly, she talked about their new coach, Woody Hanstein, a law professor at UMF and also the seasoned coach of the UMF Men’s Rugby Club.
Proudly, President Gray named several of the team’s standouts of the fall season. “Elizabeth McCabe, one of our freshman, scored a lot of tries [points] for us,” said Gray. “She was our fullback, she was really fast and would catch whoever broke through the defense.” The rookie was not a stand alone; however, “All the veterans did really well,” said Gray. “Jubilee McLeod is really great defensively, and Bethany Routier [the club’s vice president], she was really great this year, and she’s been on the team for three years.” Gray also mentioned the club’s lone senior member, Kellie Sanborn, as being a big part of the team’s success.
In the spring, the UMF Women’s Rugby Club will be starting a new season. “We’re definitely looking really good coming into next season,” said Gray. “The spring [season] will consist of much faster games and more tournaments.” The team’s first tournament appearance of the season will be on November 16th, in Seaconk, Massachusetts. Anyone interested in more information or joining the UMF Women’s Rugby Club should contact President Emily Gray at; firstname.lastname@example.org.