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Women’s rugby defeats Norwich in third win of season

September 29, 2023

Courtesy of Brian Beard
BEST FOOT FORWARD: The women’s rugby team celebrates after a game. The team has won three games consecutively this season and will play Norwich on Saturday, October 7.

Bowdoin women’s rugby (3-0) is on a roll. After its most recent 85–7 win against Norwich University (0–2), the team remains undefeated and has its eyes ahead on next weekend’s rematch.

Eight minutes into the match, the Polar Bears led 14–4. By halftime, they had scored 38 more points.

“We went into that game knowing that it was going to be a very physical one,” captain Lauryn Eisenhart ’24 said. “It’s a military academy, so they’re obviously very strong girls, but we’ve been working a lot on our tackling progression, our scrims, our rucking, so that all paid off.”

Captains Eisenhart and Jorja Markella ’24 both spoke humbly about their win, and focused on the team’s goals moving forward.

“I think that we talked a lot about this as a team, but the score doesn’t necessarily reflect how we felt playing the game, because in the beginning we were kind of messy, and we had things we wanted to clean up,” Markella said. “In the second half, we were a lot cleaner and happier with how we played.”

Head Coach Laura Miller has new strategies to share with the team that it has not explored previously. Miller was a forward when she played rugby, bringing a different perspective to the team’s playing style.

“We’re upgrading a lot of our forward work, and it really feels a lot different than what we’ve done previously,” Markella said.

The team has changed not only in its new leadership this season, but also in its dynamic tactics.

“For my past three years, we’ve had about the same set pieces, and this year we’ve decided to change some of those up because we don’t want the other teams finding out what we want to do,” Eisenhart said.

The team wants to work on more minute details and refine its skills in order to play more cleanly and professionally during matches. With three games done, all won by at least 47 points, their dynamism and new strategies have been effective.

“I think [Miller] has also brought up the pace a lot,” Eisenhart said. “Learning how to do those kinds of things at a much faster and more urgent rate has been great, but definitely new.”

The roster is composed of many experienced players this year, helping the team to improve rather than starting  from scratch.

“The most important thing we can do this season is to continue to improve on every game we’ve done,” Eisenhart said.  “I think some good indicators of that are flawless technical execution but also fast pace and working together really well on and off the ball.”

The University of New England (UNE) has historically been the team’s rival, due to the amount of times they have faced off in the finals of the national championship, but Eisenhart mentioned another opponent that the team is excited to play on October 21.

“I think it’ll be interesting to play Adrian [College], is a new DIII program but has done a lot of recruiting, so I think they could be pretty good,” she said. “Like a dark horse.”

Despite how fierce the competition can get, the team remains a united front.

“I really love Bowdoin rugby, and it is such a good team culture,” Markella said. “I’ve met so many amazing people on the team.”

The team returns to Pickard Field to play against Norwich University on Saturday, October 7.


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