This fall, the UVM women’s rugby team ranked sixteenth in the nation.
The team had an undefeated record of 6-0 for the regular season before entering the women’s collegiate rugby division I and II Fall Championship Mid-Atlantic Regional, where they made it to the first round of playoffs, the farthest women’s rugby has ever made it in the playoffs.
The team’s co-captains, seniors Darienne Martin and Danielle Marini, attribute their success to their teamwork and dedication.
“Our coach, Dougie, always screams at us that we’re relentless. Going into the playoffs, we were very much the underdog, but I think we went out there and proved that we are relentless… Our commitment and dedication is really strong,” Marini said.
“There’s 15 players on the field at once,” Martin said. “We have a saying, ‘fifteen as one,’ which we say before the games.”
That philosophy has been a key part in the team’s success, according to Martin. “There was no star player. We were all equal … everyone had their own passion for the sport and was really committed. Everyone wanted to be there,” Martin said.
The captains spoke highly of the squad’s teamwork. “In other seasons, we definitely relied on individual players to carry us along,” Marini said. “With a lot of our seniors graduating, we had to change the way that we played our game… We had to focus on working as a team more, and we did that really, really well.”
According to Marini, team bonding, such as movie nights and a “friendsgiving” helped strengthen team members’ connection. “We try to create more of a bond and be like a family unit,” Marini said.
In April 2015, the team plans to play in the Beast of the East Collegiate Rugby Tournament in Rhode Island, where each team plays four games.
The team also plans on hosting two tournaments of their own: the Prom Dress Tournament, in which players dress in prom attire and play rugby, and the Ruggers Against Rape (RAR) Tournament.
This series of games includes an entry fee and t-shirt sales which profit HOPE Works, a group located in Burlington that is dedicated to preventing sexual violence.