For the first time since its creation in 1996, the AU women’s rugby team won the PRU Championship title.
After a challenging win against Towson on Oct. 27, the team advanced to playoffs. The semifinal matchup against Salisbury was a close one, where AU pulled off a victory of only one try, 12-7. When competing for the Championship the following day against St. Mary’s, there was clearly a new aura surrounding the AU ruggers. Forwards powered through, backs worked their hands, and in the end, a victory of 24-19 made the members of AUWRFC champions.
A review of the playoff weekend by head coach, Roly Pratt:
Semifinals: Saturday vs. Salisbury, 12-7
“The conditions were cold and windy. Salisbury was bloody tough. But we found a way to win. This is the game where we could easily have become origami, but we refused.
You figured out a different strategy and you got over the finish line. It was not pretty, but it didn’t matter. I really believe this game gave us the steel and confidence that we would not be denied on Sunday.
The theme of the whole weekend ended up being resolute team defense. Who thought that when we were doing hours of hold, hold, hit at practice that it would win us the PRU. Probably no one except the coaches. Defense wins Championships…”
Finals: Sunday vs. St. Mary’s, 24-19
“A new, warmer and less windy day and attitudes that matched. I felt good when I saw the squad was very loose and up for it on Sunday morning.
We scored that first try early and I have to be honest — I thought for a split second that it would easy. But we never got our hands on the ball for the rest of the half. I have seen many other teams fold under this kind of pressure. But you did not panic. You trusted the system and your teammates and we played out the half.
Half time arrived and we went about fixing the issues we had. We put more emphasis on the break down and waited to strike. It didn’t take long. Abe made amends for her yellow card taking a score. Kara followed soon after to break the game open. Mary’s had to chase, and credit to them, they fought to the end. They scored another 7-pointer with about six minutes left.
But we were to have the last laugh. Excellent inter play between forwards and backs allowed us to move the ball down field and allowed Kara to finish of the game. Shannon added the extras. Only thing left was to collect the kickoff and put it out, which Coyle was happy to take care of.
The result was our club’s first ever PRU crown.”
“The reward is a shot at the national playoffs — a chance to put our club on the rugby map. People now have to take notice of this club. We are now a legitimate rugby force on the East coast that other college teams should fear.
I said when I took over coaching this team that I didn’t just want to coach the team, I wanted to build a rugby culture at our school — a feeder system of great players coming in every year. No more rebuilds, only re-loads.
We are on the right path.”