Although the Lady Rams Rugby team lost last weekend’s match to Shippensburg, dropping their season record to the .500 mark, they are still pumped up and ready to go next week at Princeton, and take home the EPRU crown for the third consecutive year.Shippensburg is one of the better teams on the schedule for West Chester to face each season. They are the defending NCAA Division II champions, and the loss last weekend was the first time that the Red Raiders had triumphed over the talented West Chester squad.
Shippensburg has always been a big team, as well as experienced. Since they are a club team, they are allowed to have fifth year seniors playing with them. This is a major advantage, as West Chester lost one of the greatest senior groups to ever come through the system, if not the best. Shippensburg had at least five of these returning seniors, which contributed greatly to their victory.
West Chester was able to hold tough for 12 minutes in the match before Shippensburg scored their first try of the game, with a conversion. After a hard fought first half, the Rams trailed 12-0.
In their usual fashion, the Lady Rams came storming out the second half refreshed and with heightened spirits. They drove down the field and scored on their first possession with freshman Sarah Glick. This tightened the gap to 12-5; the closest the Lady Rams got all game. The Red Raiders would score three more tries before West Chester muscled one last try at the end of the game.
The final score was 31-12.
Junior captain Sasha Stauffer spoke on the game, saying the greatest attribution to the defeat was “the lack of communication on the field during the first half, as well as an absence of energy out on the field.”
This has occurred consistently for West Chester this season, as the first half is usually slower paced and less productive. West Chester has been a second half team so far this year.
“I am very pleased with the team’s progress, but we are in need for someone to step up and start scoring for the team,” stated Coach Tony DeRemer on the performance Saturday.
At the end of last season, five of West Chester’s all time leading scorers graduated, leaving West Chester with a lack of experience in that area.
“This will come with experience, as the team is just starting to gel,” added DeRemer.
The team has scored only 14 tries in six games this season. They are averaging less then 13 points a game, which will rarely hold up in a game of rugby.
West Chester’s opponents have scored over double what the Golden Rams have this season.
Given the loss last weekend, the team is still in high spirits and ready to take on whatever come their way; in this case, the Princeton Tigers next Sunday.
“We’re definitely going to win,” expressed Stauffer confidently, referring to the championship game. “We’ve ironed out all of our kinks. We’ve worked on everything, ball handling, tackling, and passing. We’re ready this time.”
With this week off, the Lady Rams have time to reflect on the season and really focus on what they need to work to improve, and perfect the basics at practice. This young team has really come a long way this season, and this would be a good way to cap off the fall campaign.
“We will be working hard the next two weeks to improve our ball handling and our finishing skills in preparation for the championship match,” said Coach DeRemer.
When approached on next weeks game, Senior Captain Erin Furlong had only this to say, “We are ready to win three years in a row.”
The team is definitely not lacking in the area of confidence. They are currently on a streak of five consecutive victories against Princeton.
“I am very proud of the team for all of their hard work and dedication this season,” said DeRemer. “They deserve to bring home the championship in two weeks.”
Ryan Frisco is a second-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at RF648257@wcupa.edu.