Women’s rugby attracts more players

Senior+Brea+Diaz+reaches+for+the+ball+during+a+lineout+in+Saturdays+game+against+Gonzaga.+The+Banshees+lost+40-7+in+their+opening+game.

Colleen Ford

Senior Brea Diaz reaches for the ball during a lineout in Saturdays game against Gonzaga. The Banshees lost 40-7 in their opening game.

By Eric McCormick, Reporter

The EWU women’s rugby club has seen a major increase in membership this year, drawing 45 participants.

One of the captains, senior Addie Oaks, is excited for the jump in participation.

“We have two full teams,” A. Oaks said. “This is the biggest turnout that we’ve ever had. We are really excited, just for the season especially spring season as well. I think that we are going to do well. I already see so much potential in the rookies.”

Nicknamed “The Banshees,” the team traveled to Spokane to take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs in a Oct. 6 friendly, starting off its season.

Sophomore Emma Oaks, Addie’s sister, thinks that with a fast start they can make an impact in their league.

“Last year, in the fall season, we went undefeated,” E. Oaks said. “I hope that we can do that again.”

Even for a season-opening friendly, it was a tall task as EWU had to take on GU, who had  played in a match this year.

The game itself was an all-out battle from start to finish. Each team fought for territory and possession of the ball. Although GU got out to an early 14-point lead, EWU struck back with a score of its own near the end of the half to cut the deficit. In the second half, EWU tried to inch its way past the try zone a couple of times, but fell short, and the match was all Bulldogs. GU scored 26 unanswered points, for a final score of 40-7.  

In rugby, even through all of the hard-nosed tackling, E. Oaks said there is still a mutual respect on both sides.

“You think that, like in a lot of other sports that are physical like soccer, a lot of teams would have really bad blood,” E. Oaks said. “But in rugby, it’s such a small community, everyone is really supportive. If you go out there and tackle someone really hard, they’re gonna get up and be like ‘Hey, great tackle,’ as opposed to cussing you out. No matter where you go, if you find someone else who plays rugby, you have a family to join there, because you can just sit down and talk about rugby with them.”

For anyone who is interested, but hesitant to join the rugby squad, sophomore Kate Stiger says that while it can be intimidating in the beginning, it’ll be much better as time goes on.

“I was definitely scared the first time that I got tackled,” Stiger said. “But once you do it for the first time, or play in your first game, it’s really not that scary once you learn to do it properly and not get yourself hurt. It’s really not that bad.”

When asked what people should think about the sport itself, A. Oaks wasn’t hesitant on her answer.

“Come play it,” A. Oaks said.•