The No. 1 preseason ranked Quinnipiac University Women’s Rugby Team has something special. The program began in 2010 with an on-campus walk-on squad now led by Head Coach Becky Carlson. Since then, the Bobcats have been to nationals 5 times and hold 2 NIRA (National Intercollegiate Rugby Association) national championships. The special something according to Carlson is the mantra to their success, “while the system may change, the product never will. It demonstrates a commitment year to year that no matter what combination we place on the field at any time, that the belief in each other will not change.”
Last weekend, QU hosted Army on their new pitch, winning 44-22. For their season opener, Carlson said “the Army game was everything we expected out of a first regular season game with all the kinks and nerves from the new players.” While handily beating Army, doubling their score, Carlson said her squad was still hard on themselves because of the high standard of play they hold themselves to. Playing 8 freshman with a combination of new and old players “calls for adjustments, patience, and above all enthusiasm for what kind of product we can string together with a diverse pool of talent.”
The Bobcats are far from lacking talent with All-American seniors Flora Poole (flyhalf) and Ilona Maher (center) alongside honorable mention Tayler Schussler (number 8). Carlson said some lineup changes have been versatile with junior Caitria Sands moving from wing to the forward pack and sophomore Mikah Maples switching from lock to outside center. “Mikah will play alongside our senior wing Rebecca Haight to combine with Poole and Maher for an impressive backline that will look to put points on the board… with All-American junior Emily Roskopf also making the move to fullback we will see a new kind of versatility in our attack.” The changes seemed to work well for the Bobcats with Maher and Maples both touching down 3 tries a piece for their squad.
Preparing for the season and gearing up for another national championship is a part of the agenda but Carlson emphasizes that “our program is working to set a standard in NCAA rugby and grow the game… to build the culture first and the winning will arrive.” The Bobcats (1-0) will take on Dartmouth (1-0) in an away game hosted by Dartmouth in Hanover, NH this Saturday 9/9 at 12PM ET.
Follow on Twitter: @QURugby
or Facebook: @QuinnipiacRugby