The women’s rugby team opened the season with a dominant 57-17 win over Molloy College in their first game since leaving the New England Small College Rugby Conference (NESCRC). 

The team started the match off strong, gaining an advantage of 24-0 in the first half. However, the second half showed that the team could not grow complacent as Molloy came back after the intermission with three tries and a conversion to cut down the lead. From there, the Polar Bears were able to regain control and score 26 uncontested points to close out the game.

The team started mostly newer players because of scheduling conflicts, yet the lack of experience didn’t hold them back at all.

“Because so many returning players couldn’t make the game, we started many younger players,” said captain Cristina Lima ’17. “It proved a great opportunity, with the young squad scoring five tries within the first half.”

“It was a long way to go for such a young team, but it led the newer players to take command,” said Head Coach MaryBeth Mathews.

While the match proved the mettle of the team outside their previous conference, the challenge will be far steeper for the impending game against Saint Michael’s College this weekend. However, Mathews is undeterred. 

“The expectations are the same. We have smart kids; they listen, work hard and learn quickly,” said Mathews. “I will admit, of all the seasons to leave a comfy conference for a more challenging one, it’s an interesting one due to the fact that we graduated so many seniors and two of our best players are abroad. Our team is young, but there is energy, camaraderie and enthusiasm. We will be challenged, but that’s why we’re here.”

The Polar Bears will take on Saint Michael’s at home tomorrow at 2 p.m.