By Ida Ynner Lagerqvist
The LIU Post women’s rugby team is entering its second year on campus with six new recruits, strong bonds and leadership that will take them through their second season as a NCAA team.
Standing at the back of the Pratt Recreation Center on the LIU Post campus in Brookville in early September, laughter and a whistle can be heard from the right corner of the practicing fields; the women’s rugby team is in the middle of its practice. In the team’s first games of the season, they won against Castleton University on Sept. 2, 34-26, and lost against Molloy College on Sept. 8, 36-0.
Surprisingly, half of the team’s 14 players are new to the sport, according to the team’s head coach, John Royal. This is the team’s biggest challenge, but Royal pointed out two elements that they are working to improve. “We are still a work in progress when it comes to fundamental skills and game management,” he said. Team member Chanel Lubsey, a freshman film major, agrees. “Because we have some players [who] are fully brand new to the game, we just need to strengthen the general background knowledge of how to play,” she said.
In all team sports, connections between players are of great importance and when it comes to a rough sport like rugby this becomes even more significant. The bonds between the players are one of the team’s biggest strengths. Frankie Ferrara, a senior health science major, pointed out the team’s strong ability to be there for each other. “It’s a rough sport so you have to be close with your team. We work really well together and we can really rely on each other. Even if it’s outside of rugby, if something happens we are always there to pick each other up,” Ferrara said.
Each team member has her own unique background. “How we just all come together is wonderful. Each one of us has something different that we bring to the team and I feel like that is unique,” Nickala Stephens, a freshman pre-medical science major, said.
In the team’s second season, Royal has a clear goal. “My goal for this group is to play smart, intelligent rugby, to show excellence in the classroom while setting an example of sportsmanship and leadership both on and off the field.” The team’s next game is on Sept. 23, when The Pioneers welcome Colby-Sawyer College to their home field.
This article was originally published in the Pioneer, the award-winning student newspaper of LIU Post, www.liupostpioneer.com, and is republished here by Blank Slate Media with the permission of the Pioneer.