DePaul woman's Rugby team advances to quarterfinals against University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

As the women’s rugby team wraps up their season, they were able to make it to the playoffs, something that has not been achieved in awhile.

As a result of making it to the playoffs on Oct. 26, the team competed in the quarterfinals against University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Oct. 27.

The team lost in the game against University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and in order to proceed to the semifinals, the team needed to win against them.

“The team did pretty well, the team just made a few errors. We got penalized a lot by the reff and that just did not help things out. When we had the ball we did well with it, but we got penalized a lot,” women’s rugby coach Luke Sassolino said.

The last game of the playoffs was Sunday and the team ended up playing a split game because a few teams backed out due to injuries.

“We played half against Steven Points and we played a second half against UIC. We played a full game only with two different teams,” Luke Sassolino said.

The team lost by two points to University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and won 19–0 against University Illinois of Chicago.

Sassolino has coached high school hockey and began coaching rugby at DePaul a few years ago.

Senior vice-president of the women’s rugby team Caroline Kucera mentions how the team is looking forward to going to the playoffs.

The initial reaction when Kucera found out the team made the playoffs was being psyched and excited.

“I know last year we missed the playoffs by like one place and it was a tiebreaker. So, a situation like that is never fun. This is the first time since the team has made it to the playoffs since I have been here.

She notes that the team has about a few seniors and two juniors and many freshmen and sophomores.

“Just the fact that we are getting a lot of new people out that are trying to get their experience this season and the fact that it has already gone well for us compared to past seasons shows how much we improved,” Kucera said.

Sassolino mentions how there were 27 girls on the team and only 7 of them were returning players.

“With the games that we won, we won a lot of them with rookies, and I am pretty excited for the years coming up because everyone will have more years. We will be getting better and better each year,” Sassolino said.

Freshman Alva Corney decided to join the women’s rugby team because she played ruby in high school all four years and wanted to continue pursuing the sport. Corney found out about the rugby team at the involvement fair.

“As a first year team member,I am looking forward to showing other teams that we can play,” Corney said.

Sophomore Madysen Fast has been part of the rugby team for two years now and decided to join rugby because of the welcoming atmosphere.

“It seemed like a really cool group of girls. I went to a few practices and thought ‘oh man like everyone is super nice here and inspiring’ so I kept coming,” Fast said.

The team made Fast more confident both as an athlete and as a person.

“You have to be confident when going into a game. Everybody is really inspiring and it a supportive environment so that made me confident,” Fast said.

Corney also agrees how the team has a welcoming atmosphere.

It is so much fun. Everyone is really welcoming and a lot of us are different from each other. We still love to play rugby and hang out with each other.

The first game of the season the women’s rugby team played against was UIC and the women of DePaul claimed a victory.

Kucera notes that UIC has always been their biggest hurdle and rival team.

“By beating them (UIC) really set the tone for the rest of the season in order to push through games,” Kucera said.

In a typical practice, the team starts off with running to get warmed up then followed by stretches.

Afterwards, the team focuses on throwing, drills, tackling, and plays for the game.

Fast would recommend any girl to go out for the team.

“Any girl that wants to try it out that has or has not played should try. There is a spot for everybody on this team,” Fast said.

As the season wraps up, the team is focusing on how they can improve for next year.

“It really is exciting and I am excited to play next year and to continue to push through and get to higher and higher level rugby with my teammates.

The team will try to practice during their off-season in the winter to prepare for their spring season.