It’s fall semester at Bryant University, and so begins a season of fall sports; football, soccer, volleyball, cross country, tennis, and the less obvious – rugby. After an outstanding spring season, including advancing to the semifinals at the Beast of the East tournament and several seven’s tournament wins, the Women’s Rugby team is ready for another rigorous semester of in-season play.

The informal beginning of the season was September 2nd, when the women’s team played two out-of-conference games against Division I teams, Brown University and Coast Guard Academy. While the team lost to Brown, they came out with a strong win against Coast Guard, scoring forty-one points while continuing to shut Coast Guard out.

This past Saturday, Women’s Rugby enthusiastically began their in-conference fall schedule, facing St. Anselm College. The game started out fairly equal, both teams struggling to maintain possession and play effective defense. However, after a few minutes of combative play, Bryant outside center, Melissa Mallahan, broke through the St. Anselm defensive line to score a try. Mallahan’s try gave the team the momentum they needed, and that’s when Bryant started to play their game. Bryant University forwards were quick to ruck and protect the ball, making space for the backs to break away and gain large distances up the field.

By the end of the game, the Bulldogs had only conceded one try, while picking up 114 points, scored by Courtney Wheeler (with six tries), Melissa Mallahan (with four tries), Nyatasha Jackowicz, Madison Ruff, Becca Carroll, Dani Crepeau, Nicole White, Emma Dubuc, Kaitlyn Graham, and Brianna Zemotel. Zemotel also scored all but three of her conversion kicks following each try.

The team hopes that first win will be a trend setter for the rest of the season. Last fall, the regular season was extremely successful, with six wins and three losses. The team qualified to move into post-season, where they won the Plymouth Rock Bowl and took home a trophy. Coming off a positive fall and spring, Women’s Rugby is convinced they can repeat and improve upon their previous success.

The Saturday of this upcoming Alumni Weekend, the Bulldogs will play St. Michaels College. This game is expected to be one of the most competitive this season, promising to be a thrilling eighty minutes of rugby. Come down to the grass rugby field by Bulldog Stadium and watch them play St. Michael’s at 4:30 pm!

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