In recent years rugby has become more of an international sport, branching out and making an impact in America. Many high schools, colleges, and universities have taken the growth as an opportunity to establish men’s and women’s teams. Providence College is no different, as they have developed successful men’s and women’s rugby programs. The PC women’s club rugby team competes in the Rugby Northeast Division Two, playing a fall season with 15 players on the field at a time, and a spring “sevens” season with seven. The team plays their home matches on campus at Hendricken Field and travels to face opposing teams in the Northeast region. They are coached by Michael Cox, who has had success leading the program for the past four years. Cox previously played rugby at Salve Regina University in Newport, RI, and coached for PC’s men’s team.
The team is off to a good start this year, racing out to a 3–0 record in their first three matches. They are currently atop the standings alongside the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. They opened the season by traveling to Easton, MA to face Stonehill College and dominated the match throughout, rolling to a very impressive 51–7 victory on the road. Captain Claire Keck ’23 was awarded player of the match for her efforts, and the team left Easton feeling optimistic about the season ahead of them.
They built off the momentum generated in their season-opening win when they took the six-hour drive up to Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, VT. Although much closer than their first match, this was another strong showing for the Friars. The Friars showed up ready to play, and their efforts culminated in another exciting win, 44–29. Player of the match was awarded to Adelis Ortiz Liriano ’25 for her strong performance.
Hoping to build off of their successes as the season progressed, the squad looked forward to their long-awaited home opener against Bryant University on Friday, Sept. 30. This game was especially exciting for the Friars because it fell on Homecoming Weekend, so many family members and friends were able to attend. The team used all that energy to get up early in the match and cruise to another dominant victory, this time 82–17. Kiernan Wackerbarth ’23, who also serves on the team’s executive board as their president, was awarded player of the match for her efforts.
Looking forward, the Friars have three more games scheduled for the rest of the fall season. They are back home on Saturday, Oct. 8 at Hendricken facing off against the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. This is going to be a difficult match against a strong side, as the two squads are currently tied atop the standings in the Rugby Northeast Division Two. Following this showdown, the Friars will travel to New Haven, CT to face Southern Connecticut State University on Sunday, Oct. 16. In their final regular season match of the fall season on Saturday, Oct. 29, the Friars will face off against Franklin Pierce University at their home field, Hendricken.
The team enjoys working hard each day in practice to prepare for matches in part due to the comradery. When the vice president of the team’s executive board Alex McGovern ’23 was asked her favorite part about being a member of the club team, she said, “The girls on the team are awesome and we have a very tight-knit group. It’s a cool experience to get to meet so many new people, especially as a senior, and be able to watch them grow as new players as well.” It’s clear to see that the team has developed a strong sense of chemistry, and it is paying off with strong on-field results. They have strong leaders from within and a good mix of leadership from upperclassmen and underclassmen who are willing to learn from mistakes and get better each day.
When asked what she would say to someone considering joining the team, Alex responded, “Rugby is such a fun sport, and it’s a great way to stay fit, meet new people, and learn more about a new game. You don’t need any prior experience; we teach all our new players everything they need to know and keep learning as we play. We love getting new players and it’s never too late in the season to join, there are no tryouts, you can just show up to practice!” The team continues to spread their love for the game of rugby and compete at a very high level.