On Saturday, April 5, the Sewanee Women’s Rugby Team, dubbed Lady Ruckus, had their first game since 2012. The team, newly reformed by Kathleen Kelso (C’17) last semester, faced University of Tennessee at Chattanooga out on Stringer field. With about a semester of practice, and the vast majority this year, victory wasn’t expected or achieved. However, the women of Lady Ruckus couldn’t have been any happier. The game was rough, fast, and painful, but fun, and exactly what the team needed to help further figure out the sport. Erin Smolskis (C’17), who has been playing rugby for three years, and is co-captain of Lady Ruckus, said, “The first game is always a learning experience. Simulating the actual game in practice is really difficult, but once you’re actually playing, you learn quickly.”
Going into the game, the team was down a couple players from the usual 15. However, that didn’t keep them from giving it their all in the first period. The forty-minute half was cut short when Ashley Rodriguez (C’17), one of the team’s props, was injured when tackling another player. Rodriguez was not able to play for the rest of the game, but will make a full recovery. The team missed her intensity during the rest of the game, but UTC was able to lend another player to Sewanee so they could continue playing, and have a complete scrum. Afterwards, the referee made the decision to play out the rest of the game with two more 25-minute periods.
For the final period, Sewanee and UTC mixed it up by switching players between teams, so each team was an even mix of players from both teams. Despite UTC’s lead, there were no hard feelings between either team. Everyone played hard, and worked together to have the best game possible. Lady Ruckus brought their all, and even though it was the team’s first game, they still gave UTC a fight.
The final score was 22-0 with a UTC victory. After the game, Kelso told the team how proud she was of them, and all the work they had put in over the past year. The game could not have been possible without Kelso and Smolskis leading the team, as well as help from Andrew Pfaff (C’16), a member of the men’s rugby team. If the game was any indication, Lady Ruckus will only grow stronger next year, and continue to bring new levels of fast and furious women’s rugby to Sewanee.