Saturday, Sept. 10 at 3 p.m. marked history for Castleton University as they showcased the varsity women’s rugby team in their first ever home game against Sacred Heart.
“We are all definitely nervous, but also extremely excited to be here and making history at our school,” said Junior and veteran player Kayleigh Daniels before the start of the match.
After an upsetting lost to Norwich last week for their first official game in the NCAA the team just hopes to get better.
“We are really just hoping to improve so much from last week. We have put in a lot of time training with Coach (Frank Graziano) during practice and have also sacrificed a lot of our free time, doing one on one training so I hope it shows,” Daniels said.
However, Castleton wasn’t able to contain Sacred Heart falling by a score of 45-10.
The Spartans came out roaring in the first quarter with senior wing, Casey Commeau, scoring off of a pop pass, assisted from senior prop, Katie Campbell. Commeau avoided the tackle and sprinted 30 yards down the right side line for Castleton women’s first ever try.
When asked how it felt to be the first person to score a try for Castleton women’s rugby Commeau answered, “It was great and even better it was my first try ever, even after being a part of club rugby and my team was so excited so it really pumped us up.”
But the Pioneers were not ready to give up yet. Scoring next from junior scrum half was Emily Mignoni on a break away. Sacred Heart would make the conversion kick and would take the lead 7-5.
Castleton would then take the lead back for the final time with a diving try by Junior, hooker Kayleigh Daniels, after taking advantage of a loose ball.
The Pioneers would regain and hold onto the lead with 24 consecutive points. Three tries by junior inside center, Charlotte Tallman, a pair of tries from freshman fullback Kaylee Hale and a try from freshman scrum half Allie Rinaldi to end the first half. The pioneers would score the final try of the game in the second half from sophomore wing, Sunny Ravert putting Sacred Heart up 45-10.
The Spartans continued to play strong defensively with Campbell leading the charts with 12 tackles, followed by Commeau with 10 tackles and junior flanker Savannah Graves with 8.
The match was then called 20 minutes early due to safety concerns.
Despite the loss, the team has high hopes.
“I think we are still trying to get the hang of our new strategy,” said junior, Center Taylor Keramis. “I think I can speak for the team when I say that varsity rugby and club rugby are so much different than we thought, but I know we have the capabilities to do what we need to do.”
Despite the two losses teammates are hoping for the future of the sport at Castleton.
“Overall it was awesome. It’s been a great experience so far and Coach has taught us so much already. I think we have a great future here at Castleton for Women’s Rugby,” Commeau said.
The Spartans will continue their season when they face Molloy College at home on Sunday, Sept 18 at 12 p.m.