No fall sports team has been as dominant this year as women’s rugby. The team is 5-0, and has outscored their opponents by an astounding 220-3 margin.
Anchoring the team is senior captain Kerry Townsend. The Baltimore, Md. native has scored at least once in each of the team’s five victories and scored four times in Sunday’s 69-0 win over Bates.
“I had played soccer my whole life, but within a week of being on campus I had decided I wanted to try something new,” Townsend said. “I tried rugby and ended up really, really liking it.”
According to Head Coach MaryBeth Matthews, Townsend’s strong work ethic has helped her become one of the team’s leading scorers.
“She has always been eager to learn rugby,” Matthews said. “I remember when she was a first-year, she would always stay late after practice, ask upperclassmen for advice and continue to work on her game.”
Townsend has excelled despite switching to an entirely new position on the team. Originally a wing, she started to play her current fullback position at the end of last year. She is now tasked with anchoring the entire defense and is often the last line to prevent an opposing team from scoring.
“It was a little scary at first,” she said. “There was a lot more pressure on me because I wasn’t really used to playing defense.”
But even away from offense, Townsend has continued to score.
“What separates her is her speed and her great footwork,” said Matthews. “She is great at creating her own space.”
While Townsend has been a strong presence on the field, Coach Matthews says she has also been a leader off the field.
“Kerry has been a terrific captain,” Matthews said. “She leads by example and wouldn’t ask anyone else to do something that she isn’t already doing herself.”
Even with new roles on defense and as team captain, Townsend said the most fun has been taking on new teams. This year is the squad’s first in the New England Small College Rugby Conference (NESCRC). While the team had previously competed against larger schools such as University of Maine and Northeastern, the new conference includes more familiar Bowdoin opponents such as Amherst, Williams, Middlebury, Tufts, Bates, and Colby.
“It’s been a lot of fun because we are playing teams that people on campus are familiar with,” Townsend said.