The College’s Women’s Rugby Club have won both of their matches at the Inaugrual East Coast Division III Championships in Bethlehem, Pa. held April 26-27.
“We just gained our school a national title,” Michelle DiFedele, president of the College’s Women’s Rugby Club, said. “It’s grown so much in the United States, and high schools have started girls’ teams and in the future those girls are going to look at the College because we have such a good program.”
The Lions received a bid to the Championships because they had won the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union (EPRU) Division III Championships in the fall. The Lions were joined with their division’s second place finisher, Widener University and the top two teams of the New England Rugby Union, first place University of Maine and second place SUNY Cortland.
Lions 5, Red Dragons 0
The Lions won their first round match on Saturday 5-0 against the Cortland Red Dragons.
Senior inside center Grace Rarich scored the only try of the match at the 28-minute mark in the first half. With this try, the Lions were able to advance to the finals.
Lions 25, Black Bears 5
The Lions showed what true champions are made of as they annihilated the final competition, the University of Maine.
Junior prop Val Vaccaro scored the first try of both halves, which kept the Lions ahead 10-0.
Later in the second half, captain flanker Vanessa Polizzi led the Lions with two tries and junior fly half Kristine Sinisi scored the additional try to increase the Lions lead to 25-0. The Black Bears were able to score with only seconds left in the second half, resulting in a decisive victory for the Lions.
Polizzi was named the 2003 East Coast Women’s Collegiate Rugby Championship Division III MVP. “The whole weekend was great, we played so intense,” Polizzi said. “It felt so good winning. I don’t think any other women’s team deserved it. I’ve been walking around with a grin on my face.”
Polizzi said she was shocked when she received the MVP award. “There were so many other girls that deserved it on our team but at the same time, it’s an unbelievable feeling and an honor to receive that trophy.”
“I’m so honored and proud to be a part of this team,” DiFedele said. “Our team has so much skill backed by so much heart it’s unbelievable. I couldn’t ask for a better end to this year then to win such a prestigious title after doing so well this entire year, it’s such a great feeling.”
The Men’s Rugby Club won the First Annual Jon Valentine Tournament at Lafayette College. Five teams competed at the event, and even though the Lions had lost the second match to Albright College, 10-5, they were able to advance to the finals.
The Lions played Albright again in the finals, winning 32-7.
During the first match, the Lions defeated Ursinus College 28-5. The Lions were led by sophomore Seth Kruska and freshman Mike Chiumento, who each scored one try.
During the first match with Albright College, senior fullback Kevin Cashman scored the only try in the Lions 10-5 loss.
Despite the loss, the Lions advanced to the finals with Albright because of the high point differential in the first match.
Junior fly-half Jeff Baer drop kicked the ball in the middle of the play, scoring three points for the Lions. Junior inside center Rick Nuss and junior fullback Ken Johnsen each scored a try in the match.
“We didn’t have many guys going, we had 19,” junior president Matt Jacobsen, said. “Besides a pathetic second game, it was good to have the opportunity for a sweet redemption, which we seized after a long day.”