Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

The West Chester University women’s rugby team finally started their fall season last week, and could not have chosen a harder match up to begin their 2009-10 campaign.The Lady Rams hosted the No. 1 Penn State Lady Ruggers two weeks ago to kick off their year. West Chester was ranked No. 17 going into the game, but was no match for the defending national champion on their home field.

West Chester fought hard, but fell to Penn State by a score of 42-7. The Lady Rams played a great first half against the No. 1 team. Penn State was first to score, making the score 7-0. West Chester answered quickly though, as Ali Vandermay powered into the trizone. Megan Lamm converted the try, evening up the score at seven.

For much of the rest of the first half, the game stood in a standstill at 7-7. Ten minutes before the half though, things broke open for Penn State, as they rallied for four unconverted trys in the final ten minutes. West Chester went into the half down 27-7.

Penn State would add three more trys in the second half to end the game with their 42-7 victory. West Chester put up a great fight despite the score, especially for taking on the best team in the nation.

Penn State is the first of three top 25 teams West Chester will face this season.

This was a tough loss to take to start off the season, but West Chester crushed any doubts about them last weekend when they hosted American University on their home field, drowning them out by a monster score of 79-5.

It was a record day for West Chester in so many ways, both as a team and individually. The team’s 79 points scored was the second most in team history.

Freshman Cheryl Johnson, red-shirted last season, had an explosive day, going for four trys and 20 points overall. She had 15 points in the first half, tying a team record.

Megan Lamm, West Chester’s converter kicker, broke a school record with six conversions on the day, five of them alone in the first half. West Chester scored 50 points in the first half.

Anna McGlade also had a stellar game, scoring three trys of her own. Others adding to the scoring were Michelle Gerlach, Kate Rada, Laura Meier, Devon Tucker, Priscilla Torres, and Megan Lamm, who added a try along with her six conversions.

The team definitely has a lot of potential, but their road will definitely not be easy this season, especially with some of the changes that have taken place. Over the off season, two more teams have entered the EPRU division. Delaware and Shippensburg are the conference newcomers, and will give West Chester a hard time. Last season, West Chester lost to Shippensburg in the Spring season.

West Chester is looking to win the EPRU Championship again this year though. If the team succeeds with this, it would be their fourth consecutive title. “We’re working hard as a team to meet our goal and win our division,” senior Sasha Stauffer said.

In order to meet their goals though, the entire team needs to step up to fill where last year’s team left off.

“The game of rugby requires the team to play 15 as one,” Stauffer said. “You cannot play the game of rugby as an individual. The whole team needs to continuously push themselves.”

West Chester did lose some great veterans last season, but they have made up for what they lost with what they brought in this year. Two great pickups over the off season were Britt Miller and Hannah Johnstone, but Stauffer said that everyone who West Chester picked up this year has brought something great with them to the team.

“In the end, NCAA’s is definitely our ultimate goal, but this season we are taking one thing at a time,” Stauffer said, in her final season here. “EPRU’s first.”

Winning that title is something West Chester is definitely capable of, but it will not be an easy road. In the past, Delaware, Shippensburg, and Princeton have always been tough teams on West Chester’s slate. Winning that EPRU championship is crucial, because without that, the road to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen tournament is virtually out of the picture.

On homecoming day, the team traveled to Delaware, where they encountered a bump in the road. Although West Chester held Delaware without a single try in the entire game, they still managed to lose the game 6-5 in a pure defensive battle.

Drew Groswith scored the Lady Rams lone goal in the game in the first half, which put them up 5-0 after the missed conversion. An unfortunate thing happened though, as the Blue Hens converted two penalty kicks, each worth three points, to go up 6-5. They would hold West Chester off the rest of the game to seal the one point victory.

The last time a game was that low of scoring was last season when West Chester skimmed by Maryland 12-10. West Chester will take on the University of Maryland next Saturday at home.

The loss puts West Chester at 1-2 on the season, and in a hole. The team will have to do extremely well the rest of the fall season to earn a bid in the EPRU championship.

Ryan Frisco is a third-year student majoring in Communication studies. He can be reached at RF648257@wcupa.edu.

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