Wheaton’s women’s rugby team returns to its winning ways with strong team spirits
With its unexpected win over Salve Regina on Oct. 21, 2017, Wheaton’s women’s rugby team received an unprecedented boost in team confidence going forward. Its excellent performances during the last fall season strongly inspired other club sports’s spirits as well. Olivia Ray ’18, the co-captain of the team, attributed its success to cooperative teamwork, excessive hard work and great guidance from the coach.
Regarding the big turnout over the past season, Margaret Field ’18, the president of the team, said: “[T]o be able to go out there and beat Salve Regina was incredible for us because we won 44-22. We doubled them! That was a really proud moment for all of us because before this year, we hadn’t won a game for two years.”
Women’s rugby cultivates its team spirit through practice and social activities, as these two key strategies improve the chemistry of the group and increase the probability of success. “We lost five seniors last year, [but] this year we have almost 20 players so we gained many new members,” said Field. “99 percent [of] people who come in are new.”
Field added: “The easy [way] to learn how to play is just being thrown into the game and bonding the team together.” By doing so, new members would quickly gain the knowledge of how to play the game and fit into the team environment smoothly.
Without hard work, it would not be easy to get out of the shadow of defeat. “All the girls work hard because we don’t have a lot of players this year,” Pilar McCarthy ’18 commented. “The girls show incredible amounts of grit because it is not an easy game to play and practice. You have to be very mentally prepared, not just physically prepared.”
Another important factor for building up the team is the direct contribution from the coach, who brings so much more to the role than just achieving results on a scoreboard. Ray said, “We have a new coach this year and his new rules are helpful for everyone to start at the same level. The learning experience helps the team to bond more cohesively.” In addition, Field said, “Our coach is good at making sure that we are working hard but also having fun.”
As senior players are going to graduate this May, they expressed their sadness to leave the team while also sharing their gains from playing rugby and expectations for the future. “Unlike other sports that can have a great team star to make a lead, for rugby, we have to rely on your teammates,” Ray concluded. “So the support element is the biggest thing on our team.” Similarly, Field expressed, “Rugby taught me that I am tough and I can take down those big girls and tackle them. If you set your mind [to something], you can do it.”