Ball and all: girls rugby elated with high numbers

Practice+makes+perfect%3A+The+girls+rugby+team+practices+on+the+fields+at+Valley+Forge+Middle+School.+Last+year%2C+the+girls+did+not+have+enough+people+enrolled+to+make+up+an+entire+team.

Practice makes perfect: The girls rugby team practices on the fields at Valley Forge Middle School. Last year, the girls did not have enough people enrolled to make up an entire team.

By Katherine Lee, Staff Reporter

It’s difficult to play a team sport when there aren’t enough players to be full-sized. For as long as rugby has been at ’Stoga, the girls’ team has been lacking players — until now. For the first time, with 17 girls enrolled, they are able to meet the standard size of 15.

Last season, the girls formed a team with the girls’ rugby team from West Chester Rustin, who were also lacking in numbers. According to junior Deavion Perry, this gave them enough girls to play, but it was not a team that they could call their own.

In past years, the girls often had to forfeit most games, meaning they would automatically lose because of their small team size.

“We didn’t have actually scheduled games and just tried to get pick up games which can also be very difficult to organize,” junior Olivia Snyder said.

And for the games that the team were able to play, they were at a significant disadvantage.

“We had one game where the other team played up three players, then went down to even number after they scored a bunch of tries. Once we had even numbers, we quickly got a few tries, and to protect their win, they put their extra three players back on the field,” senior captain Jordan Roe said. “It was annoying to see that we could have beat them if the playing field was even, but it just all came down to numbers.”

This year however, the team is hopeful in playing equally and competitively, equipped with not only a large enough team, but a new coach — Jenna Ponto. Ponto played rugby for both West Chester University and the Brandywine Women’s Rugby Club.

“I’m looking forward to having these girls experience a real game where they’re a full team and not having to play with other teams. With them being able to have their own team, it’s a more solidified opportunity for them,” Ponto said.

Perry, who is standing in as the team manager while recovering from a leg injury, said she believes that the following seasons will be more successful, now that they will not be forced to forfeit or play numbers down.

“Soon enough, before I graduate hopefully, I think we’ll make it to the championships. It’s been a goal since like freshman year of mine,” Perry said.

With new freshmen recruits gracing their numbers, the girls are looking forward to a rewarding season.

“We have a really strong team this year and lot of new girls who are eager to play. We are all pumped for this season,” junior player Jessica Woodward said.