By Taylor Baxter – 1851 Staff
On October 25, the women’s rugby club held its first home scrimmage at Grellier Field, losing to Framingham State University 60-0. While the women lost the match, they have gained more over the past semester.
“Regardless, win or lose, I’m proud of how far we’ve come,” said junior Mary Jo Fisher, who started the club in the fall of 2013. “I love the rugby community, and I love that we are all teaching and learning from each other.”
Fisher came into contact with the sport her senior year of high school, and continued to play the summer before she arrived at college. Fisher was disappointed to learn that Lasell did not have a women’s rugby club, so she decided to start one herself.
Fisher created the women’s rugby club from the ground up. She had assistance from the men’s rugby club and their advisor, Sarah Richardson. To create the club sport, Fisher received support and a budget from the Office of Student Activites.
“I wanted to learn and develop myself and my skills, so I went out and got my coaching certificate,” said Fisher. “It was hard to gain interest at first. We had to go out and recruit at the Student Activities Fair and kind of had to go by word of mouth.”
Fisher could not have successfully started the club without help of fellow captains, senior Meaghan Whalen and junior Stephanie El-Massri. Both girls had never played rugby before, but learned the basics from Fisher.
“I joined because I wanted to do something different and just going to the gym wasn’t cutting it for me anymore,” said Whalen. “A lot of my friends had also transferred and it was a way [for me] to connect with new people.”
Rugby has to compete with other athletic teams to get turf time for practice. Sometimes that means practice at 6:45 a.m., which turned a lot of people away. Now the girls practice during common hours on the Arnow Quad in conjunction with the men’s club.
The girls hope to hold a few more practices this month before the weather gets too cold. The club is currently in the process of joining USA Rugby and connecting with other schools to scrimmage against come spring.
“Our goal is to play the Beast of the East Tournament next April in Rhode Island,” said Whalen. “By then we will definitely be able to see how everyone’s skills improved.”