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Monday, January 26, 2015 | Last updated: 10:02pm

Club Sports: Women's rugby exceeds spring expectations

Brandeis. Founded in 2000, the club team competes in a Division IV league called the New England Rugby Football Union, participating in tournaments such as the Beast of the East and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Prom Dress.

The team practices twice a week in a rigorous schedule, looking to succeed in a transition season.

The roster is made up of 21 players, 15 playing at any given time. This past fall they went 2-3-1. However, the team showed signs of growth and seems to be making a push to improve for next season.

"We have a fairly new coach and only half the team had ever played before," said team secretary Molly Hillman '14. "Next year, if we don't switch leagues, it's very possible we'll win the division, which I never would have said in the fall. We've grown unbelievably."

That growth is already evident in the team's past two victories this spring against Framingham State University and Connecticut College.

Although the women's rugby squad displayed an impressive showing last weekend at the Beast of the East, the biggest intercollegiate rugby tournament in the Northeast, the team came away with no victories.

The team was recently invited to join the New England Women's Collegiate Rugby Conference, a new conference that started just this year.

Hillman said that the conference would present a whole new level of competition and an opportunity for which she and the team are extremely excited.

Although women's rugby is only a club sport at Brandeis, Hillman said that the team is very competitive and very dedicated to practice.

"Many people on the team make rugby one of their top priorities, but there's still plenty of time to get schoolwork done if you plan around it," she said. "Rugby is a sport that takes a lot of commitment- you really get out of it what you put in. We pride ourselves on being a dedicated team with a lot of intensity. We work hard, but we all really enjoy it."

The team has a few former varsity athletes who can attest to how rigorous the practice schedule can be.

"Many of our players are former high school athletes who find within our club the level of competition and team bonds that they've been missing," said Hillman.

The team next competes in its final tournament of the season, the annual Prom Dress Rugby Sevens tournament at MIT this upcoming Saturday. After that, the squad heads into uncharted waters for a new year in a new conference.


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