As the fall semester began, so too did the season of sports on campus. The kickoff to the Men’s Rugby club season was no different. Their team has gotten off to a shaky start to the year thus far with a current record of 1–2–2. With just a few games remaining in the season, the Rams will look to secure more victories as they prepare to meet Rutgers next Saturday.
Beginning their season, the Rams took on the hated rival St Joseph’s University on Sept. 17. The rivalry has been red-hot in recent seasons as the two have met in postseason matchups along with divisional showdowns which have all seen impassioned clashes on the field. This matchup ended in a stalemate as the Rams tied St. Joe’s at 28 points. Time will tell if the two forces will collide in a future postseason showdown.
The Rams then went to James Madison University to take on another division foe. Unfortunately, the outcome did not go as hoped for WCU as they were dominated in a 52-12 loss, bringing the record to 0–1–1. Last season’s fall matchup between the two went in the Ram’s favor in a close 31–28 victory.
WCU was again unable to fill another tally in the win column as they played host to the University of Maryland. The game finished in the second tie of their season at 27 points a piece.
The next game came against University of Delaware on West Chester turf. They were finally able to claim their first victory of the season in a 34–31 win on Homecoming weekend.
The team once again fell into their strugglesome ways however, losing 21–19 against Salisbury University on Oct. 15.
“Overall, the team has dropped off from where we were last year,” Vice President of the club Andrew Barber told me. “We lost key players to graduation, especially in the forward pack. We are incorporating many new guys into the system which is throwing off the chemistry, but it is slowly improving week by week. We were also hit by the injury bug early on in the season which put guys into positions they had never played before.”
Given the sluggish start to the season, these factors look as if they have made quite the impact on the team’s performance thus far. Despite the rough start, there has been a bright spot for the team. “Freshman Diohnny Ruiz has come in and made an impact at the wing position,” Barber told me. “He has made a few long runs that got us into enemy territory and set us up for tries.”
“We have three games remaining: Temple, Rutgers and Rowan. Temple and Rutgers are underperforming, with Temple only winning one game and Rutgers still searching for their first win. Rowan has not lost a game yet this season, so they will be our toughest match coming down the stretch.”
The Rams will host Rutgers next Saturday Oct. 29.
Joseph Gill is a fourth-year English major with a minor in journalism. JG923276@wcupa.edu