National Small College Rugby Organization LLC: Latest News: Brandeis Women's Rugby Vies for Glory in Post-Season

Tuesday, October 30
Brandeis Women's Rugby Vies for Glory in Post-Season

By Henry Loughlin
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012

Although Saturday's defeat against Smith College in this year's New England Wide Collegiate Rugby Conference signified the end of the season for the women's rugby team, there were many positives to take from this season.

Initially a thriving team on the Brandeis club sports scene during the 1990s, the team was a perennial powerhouse.

However, the club saw a lull in retention rates in the beginning of the 2000s. Yet, LauraBen Moore'14 states that there are brighter days ahead for a team that has just recently found its way back to prominence.

"In the last two to three years, there have been massive changes in retention rates, attendance, and membership," said Moore. "In 2010, we had eight veterans. However, when looking at this year, we had 17 returners. You need 15 for a team."

"We always say that the result of increased participation is culture, not coincidence," added Moore. We're starting to develop a culture on campus."

Most notably, the team was invited to become one of 11 Division III teams in the NEWCRC.

According to Moore, the NEWCRC was founded by teams who were tired of playing in non-competitive conferences.

Additionally, joining the conference was a significant accomplishment because membership is by invitation only.

"We play very competitive teams," said Moore. "We play schools like Smith, the [United States] Coast Guard Academy, Wheaton College and Mount Holyoke College."

The club's upward trajectory was key in its invitation to the conference.

And, according to Moore, the emergence of the squad has resulted in praise from many of the Conference's more established and experienced clubs.

In addition to the athletic accomplishments of the club, Moore also noted the diversity of the team.

"We have every major, every body type, every year, every type of person," she said. "We're very inclusive." What makes the accomplishments of the club even more notable is the small size of the team, both in terms of numbers and size. "We have girls on our team who are 110 pounds with bags of sand in their pockets," she joked.

"But we have great fight and great determination."

The most telling fact about this year's team is that it was able to qualify for the Division III playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.

Yet, this season's accomplishments are not the end of the road. Moore said that while the semi-finals were a great success for the squad this year, they will look to win the competition next year.

Given its recent resurgence, one might imagine that there are even better days ahead for the women's rugby team.

After a surge to the semifinals of the NEWCRC Division III playoffs for the first time in 10 years, the sky is the limit for this young and emergent squad that has returned to the fold of Brandeis club sports.

For more information about the Conference, go to http://www.newcrc.org.