Women's club rugby ready for playoff action
Awareness still an issue, but winning is not a problem
Published: Thursday, March 31, 2011
Updated: Thursday, March 31, 2011 12:03
For the women's club rugby team, a lack of transparency on campus has failed to extinguish their drive. The Bronco Rugby Union Women's Side (BRUWS) remains unfazed since they are headed to playoffs with a division leading 6-1 record this season.
The lack of school recognition and student support has only served as a motivational tool, bringing the team closer both on and off the field.
However, Senior Angelina Pascual is still aware of the situation.
"It is disappointing that we put so much work and effort into rugby and we are not recognized."
Pascual had never played rugby before coming to Santa Clara, but was instantly drawn to the sport after the first day of practice her freshman year. Since then she has seen the BRUWS develop into a very competitive and strong team.
"Our biggest strength and weakness is how close we are," said Pascual. " We work really well together, but when we are off, we are all off. If one person is off our whole game is off. However, if we are on the same page we can play a good game, read each other's lines well."
The team consists of 17 girls and since 15 girls are needed to compete in a rugby match, this leaves very little room for athletes getting injured or sick throughout the season.
The team had ten returning players this season and worked hard all of fall quarter to bring the entire team up to par with fundamentals.
BRUWS competes in a National Division II league where they face San Francisco, Humboldt and Reno.
This year, the BRUWS took home the league title, enabling them to compete with Division I teams, while also granting them a spot in the playoffs.
"Rugby is different than some mainstream American sports because of the fact that there aren't stars on the team. When one player isn't performing it affects the entire team," said Coach Neil Chatterji. "The team really has to work together and communicate to accomplish certain things both on defense and offense."
The BRUWS have come a long way from when Chatterji first began coaching at Santa Clara in 2004, with only four girls on the team.
Over the years, the team has worked to spread the word to get more women interested in the sport.
In hopes of bringing in funding, the BRUWS also take on the role of a small independent organization. The team has set up fundraising chairs, alumni chairs, relations chairs and even has co-presidents and a vice president to make sure that all necessary elements are taken care of.
"I know that our team unity is a key part of our success," said Junior Stephanie Duck. "Everybody understands and strives for their best. I don't think a lot of teams have that and this has helped us a lot this year."
Chatterji pointed out that rugby is very exhilarating and it also has strong, positive influences off the field.
"High school rugby is getting bigger, but we don't start with anyone that has played rugby before," said Chatterji. "We are not working with athletes. We are working with the general student population. We want these women to become leaders in other things and this is a great way to see them do that. It shows that if you are dedicated you can become anything you want to be. This is a great way to see that happen. This is a further way to develop that excellence and also represent your school."
With playoffs approaching, the BRUWS are gearing up for their trip to Washington. The team plays in the regional playoffs on Saturday April 2nd against Utah State.
Contact Gina Massetani at firstname.lastname@example.org or (408) 551-1819.