The West Chester University women’s rugby team has been on a roller coaster ride this season, with everything coming together at the right time for the Lady Rams. The West Chester University rugby team had a semi-final matchup in the Mason Dixon Tournament on Saturday against East Carolina. They are coming off a dominating win in the Quarterfinal matchup against Virginia Tech 72-0.
In this semi-final matchup against East Carolina, West Chester had some of the same dominating play. They defeated East Carolina 41-5. The Mason Dixon Tournament is the postseason tournament, with both teams in the championship game receiving a berth into USA Nationals. So for the second straight year, the Lady Rams will be participating in the National Tournament. The Mason Dixon Tournament takes place in Virginia. For the Lady Rams, this is familiar territory as they were in the Mason Dixon Finals last year against the United States Naval Academy. This game was a grinder, in which the Naval Academy pulled out a win 17-10. West Chester still made it into the USA National tournament last year, in which they struggled and lost, to Penn State and Iowa, in matchups that were not very close.
This year, they are coming back for vengeance. In their 41-5 victory over a good East Carolina team, and the whole team shined in the win. The defense was great, as they held a high powered offense to one try, and that try was with about five minutes left in the contest, which were just garbage points for the Pirates at that point. As for the Lady Rams’ offense, they had many scorers on the day. The leading scorers on the day were Jackie Sacco, and Kayla Gatto, with two tries a piece. Sophia Schwab converted three of West Chester’s seven tries. Shelby Kimport and Erin Gallagher also had a try each, that were failed to be converted on.
For the Lady Rams moving forward, they will face the winner of North Carolina and James Madison in the championship game on Sunday, April 6. However, their season is not over, due to the fact that they are in the championship game, playing in the Nationals.
For the Rams to be successful moving forward in their season, they will need big production from their leading scorers, Nicole Benedetti, and Arielle Grant, who were both held scoreless in the game against East Carolina. Coach DeRemer and the Lady Rams definitely want to build on the tough end of the season last year, and move on even deeper in the National Tournament, and for sure capture the Mason Dixon Title, something that DeRemer has not been able to do in his tenure as coach.
For the Lady Rams, they will play the championship game against either North Carolina or James Madison, and then they will have a home matchup against Maryland Exiles, which is a club team, a tune up game for the Rams who will then prepare for the National Tournament that begins at the end of the month. The tournament is a double elimination style setup, and the Lady Rams will do their best to win at least one game this season, which was something they could not do last year. With their ultimate goal being winning the national tournament, the Lady Rams will look to be crowned the best women’s rugby team in the country.
Ryan Calpin is a second-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalisim. He can be reached at RC784188@wcupa.edu