Women's Collegiate Rugby History is Made

Women's Collegiate Rugby History is Made

When West Chester University Women played Eastern Illinois Women on Saturday, September 15, 2007, it marked the first-ever game between NCAA varsity rugby programs.

West Chester University Women's team came from behind to down Eastern Illinois 20-19 in the first-ever game between NCAA varsity women's college programs.

Using their superior speed in the backs EIU scored two early tries to take a 12-0 lead. However West Chester, led by a strong performance in their tight five, was able to work through the phases to close the gap to 12-5 at the break. "We talked about securing good possession in the second half," said flanker Katie Black. "Instead of trying those 50-50 passes we needed to go down and send our forwards to ruck over. We needed to work on rushing up harder into gaps with the ball and pushing up on defense to cut down their space." And this they did.

The Golden Rams also began to dominate the set pieces, winning virtually all the scrums in the second half and most of the lineouts. "They didn't really have a platform to work off of," said West Chester coach Tony DeRemer. "We got the momentum and were certainly strong in the forwards." Black led the way with two tries and West Chester touched down three times in the second half to win 20-19. The score was made a little closer by EIU's better goalkicking but DeRemer said he wasn't too concerned about that element of the game. "Three of the kicks were from the corner. and Whitney [Hartshorne] is kicking well," he said. "I am not worried about her ability to kick for us." DeRemer said once his team slid better on defense they were able to contain the speeder EIU outside backs, and from there the game belonged to the Ram forwards. "We ran through 10 or 12 phases on several occasions," he said. "Eastern Illinois defended well but we were patient and kept at it." "Any time you can take their ball in the scrums or drive them off the ball, that can be really demoralizing for their forwards, said Black. We were felt pretty good when we were able to do that." The game of course means nothing in terms of league play, but has much meaning in being the first game between two varsity programs.

Local television and other media were there, and the game was seen by a crowd of about 1,400. "There was no avoiding the fact it was an important event," said DeRemer. "I think looking back we will see that it has some significance," said Black. "But right now we're just looking at it as a way of getting ourselves prepared for the rest of our season. I know Eastern Illinois were happy to have a tough competitive match, and we know we have Penn State and Navy and teams like that to worry about, so this was a good game to start off the season." Link to Article in Philadelphia Inquirer: http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/20070915_Rugby_makes_NCAA_de...



Contact: Tony DeRemer
Email: aderemeratwcupa [dot] edu
Phone: 610-517-6385