The West Chester women’s rugby team wowed the Princeton stadium Saturday afternoon as they came back from an 8-0 deficit to beat Shippensburg 15-8 in the final moments of the game to earn their fourth consecutive trip to the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union championship.The game was the semi-final match of the EPRU tournament. Shippensburg was ranked second in the season’s standings, and West Chester third. The game was a rematch of the last week of the regular season, where Shippensburg squeaked by West Chester to take away their chances of the regular season EPRU crown.
West Chester fell behind early in the first half, as Shippensburg scored an unconverted try and a penalty kick to run out to an 8-0 lead. Minutes before the half ended though, Mary Kay Heaton got a try across the line, bringing the Lady Rams to a three point deficit, within striking distance.
Coach Tony DeRemer must have given a serious pep talk during the half time break, because the Golden Ram squad came out in the second half with one thing in mind, victory.
The ball barely crossed the midfield line, as West Chester spent the entire half in Shippensburg’s territory. After a while, their hard work and hard driving finally paid off, as Anna McGlade converted a penalty kick to tie the game at eight.
With the game playing out to be a defensive battle, it was apparent that the next score would most likely be the game winner, whether it be a good drive or a lucky break.
The Golden Rams proved too much in the end. Charging hard in Ship’s territory, they pounded the line at every hole they could find, until finally, as the clock struck zero, Kate Rada was finally able to break through, sealing the victory and a chance at an unprecedented fourth consecutive EPRU crown.
“I just saw a hole in front of the try line and went for it,” Rada said. “I kept moving inch by inch, hoping I’d make it.”
West Chester added on the converted kick to make the final score West Chester 15, Shippensburg eight.
The win was West Chester’s first against Shippensburg in the past two seasons, as they had dropped the previous two contests.
“Today came down to us proving ourselves,” senior Sasha Stauffer said.
The team lost to both Delaware and Shippensburg in the regular season, and both were close games within one score. The game against Delaware was lost by one point.
West Chester definitely proved Saturday that they are gamers. They win when it counts the most, and that is just what they did against Ship.
“We stayed positive and did everything to keep our title,” Staffer added. “Today we played 15 as one.”
By that, she means they played as a team. One of the hardest parts of the game of rugby is bringing everybody together as one unit. There are 15 players on the field at once, which can be disorganized and confusing at times. In the second half of Saturday’s game, the Lady Rams were able to unite and control the field, proving they are worthy of yet another trip to Nationals.
“Our determination till the last play won us the game,” Stauffer said. The EPRU championship game will be Stauffer’s last collegiate game, as she is graduating in December.
With the win, West Chester faced Delaware Sunday for the championship. West Chester lost to the Blue Hens earlier in the season, by a score of 6-5. The six points came off of two penalty kicks.
“Anything can happen,” Rada said. “You just have to keep fighting for what you want.”
The championship game against Delaware was not finished in time for this issue of The Quad.
Ryan Frisco is a third-year student majoring in Communication studies. He can be reached at RF648257@wcupa.edu.