BY CAITLIN LYNCH ’20
Mount Holyoke Rugby proved their worth on Saturday with a win against MIT. The final score was 61-38, and the win brought Mount Holyoke to 3-1 in the New England Wide Collegiate Rugby Conference.
The match started off with a score by MIT. “They scored the first try, but after that we kicked it up,” said captain Julia Seiple ’18. Within five minutes of play-time, Mount Holyoke took the lead and sustained it through the end. “We played really strong throughout the whole game, even to the last minute. I’m really pleased with how this team has grown,” said Seiple.
MIT rugby only had 10 eligible players this weekend, but NEWCRC requires 15 players per side. MHC Rugby has 38 players on roster with about 24 active members, and so was able to lend five players (Elyse Tunkelrott ’20, Anne-Gail More- land ’20, Basil Bartlett ’19, Emily Kellogg ’20 and Hampshire junior Nyk Lifson) to MIT to even the playing field. “It’s actually really cool to play when we have some of our players on the other team because it’s nice to be familiar with who you’re playing,” said loose forward Eloise Nimocks ’17. “Some of the best plays by people who are technically on our team were done when they were playing for MIT. They had some really good intercepting plays.” Inside center Erin Murdock ’18 noted that this switch-up made the game more fun: “It’s like a pleasant surprise to go into a ruck against a teammate. It also helps our players feel more comfortable because they are competing against familiar faces.”
Because MIT did not have a full team, the competition on Saturday was technically a scrimmage as opposed to an official match. No matter what you call it, the rugby players are proud of their performances against (and, in five cases, assisting) MIT. “Normally there are some moments when we’re not so strong in our play, usually having to do with defense, but this time we really came together,” said captain Bennett de Paula ’17. “There weren’t just one or two good moments, there were many of them and they were back to back. It was really good rugby.”
The team feels as though this win was indicative of the improvements they have made since the beginning of the season. “We’ve been on an upwards trajectory in our overall skill as a team,” says de Paula, “we’re really getting to the point where we’re doing well for ourselves.”
Mount Holyoke Rugby is currently ranked second in their conference, with Amherst College in first. The two teams face off at Amherst this Saturday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m.