Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

The Golden Rams will travel up to Springfield, Massachusetts to take on American International College for the first 15s match since the 2021 NCAA DII National Championship where West Chester fell 1729.

AIC has a 31 record as of Oct. 21. They beat the University of New Haven (860), the U.S. Naval Academy (125) and the United States Military Academy (2517). They fell to Davenport University 1922. Their National Intercollegiate Rugby Association DII record is 11.

The Golden Rams have a 22 record as of Oct. 2. They beat UNH (660) and Lander University (48-7). They lost to USNA (1020) and Queens University of Charlotte (020). Their NIRA record is 21.

The Golden Rams have been preparing to face AIC in 15s since their last game on Nov. 21.

“We’re very eager and excited to get out on the field and redeem ourselves from that loss,” senior captain Faith Morley said.

AIC defeated USNA, who beat WCU back in September, but that does not worry the Golden Rams. 

“I feel like we’re a different team since that game,” sophomore Brooke Crago said. “We’ve been working a lot on our defense and offensive structure.”

It is not a surprise that AIC beat USNA. 

“AIC has a really great program and they’ve proved that all season,” Morley said.

The team is coming off their win against LU. Senior captain Heather Spangler scored three tries in the match, making her total tries of the season to seven for 35 points on the season. She is 28% of the team’s scoring.

Graduate student Christelle Alce scored two tries for 10 points. Freshman Taylor Baldwin and graduate student captain Bayla Shindledecker recorded one try each. 

Sophomore Sara McNicholas kicked three conversions and one penalty kick for nine points. Senior Olyvia Eckard kicked two conversions for four points on the day.

This level of scoring was missing from the Golden Rams in their matches against QUC and USNA.

“We have improved a lot on the last few weeks,” Morley said. “I am excited to see how our offensive progress matches up against AIC.”

This is not the first match-up between the Rams and the Yellow Jackets since the 2021 championship game, AIC and WCU have faced off many times during the spring 7s season. Each time, the Golden Rams bested AIC.

The last game was at the inaugural USA Rugby 7’s National Championship where WCU moved on to be the Bowl runner-up.

“Our last game in sevens was really intense and we pulled away with a win,” Crago said. “I can’t wait to do it again.”

After the AIC match, the Golden Rams will travel to Wheeling, West Virginia to play Davenport University in a match rescheduled from Sept. 10.

The teams in NCAA NIRA DII are WCU, QUC, UNH, DU, AIC and LU. Alderson Broaddus University would also be included, but this year they are developmental.

The top four teams will compete in semifinals and then the winners of those matches will move on to the championship game. 

QUC is moving up to DI next season. USNA is playing in DII, but will not be a member until next season.

Ty Hickey is a media and culture major with a Chinese minor.


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