The women’s rugby team (4–0) remains undefeated after a 48–0 win against the University of New England (UNE). The team previously shut out UNE (3–3–1) in the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) DIII Championship last November, taking home the winning title for the third consecutive year.
“UNE came out really hard. I think for about 10 to 15 minutes, we were adjusting to the fact that they were being really physical. It was their senior night. They really wanted to beat us,” Colleen Doucette ’24 said. “We ended up just working our way down the field and scoring again and again and again.”
Sage Tonomura-MacDonald ’27 put the Polar Bears in an early lead with two tries in the first half.
“It felt a little panicked on the field. They were definitely hitting us hard,” Tonomura-MacDonald said. “I think just getting those first couple of tries is really what brings you back up, and you’re like, ‘Okay, we got this.’”
Doucette made two more tries in the second half, with Kyra Bishop ’26, Katie Stomma ’26 and Lulu Linkas ’26 contributing a try each. Captain Lauryn Eisenhart ’24 added 13 points for the Polar Bears with five conversions and a penalty kick.
“I think it was a really good showing of what we are capable of in terms of skills and being able to shut out UNE for the second time in a row. Beating them by as many points as we did felt really good and boosted our confidence going into postseason,” Eisenhart said.
UNE has historically been Bowdoin’s rival when it comes to rugby. Their matchups are often more physical than with other teams, a sentiment echoed by several players.
“You can have a game that’s really technical, like people are running lines, and they’re doing more kicking. They’re doing more creative plays. Or you can have a game where people are just [plowing] it up the middle,” Doucette said. “[UNE] was fired up, but we were fired up too.”
Given the intense physicality of the sport, Head Coach Laura Miller has been working with the team to minimize injuries.
“We’ve had way less injuries than we usually have. And that’s because of the way that [Miller’s] practices are low intensity between games so that our bodies can recover until we’re ready to play 80 minutes of really intense [rugby],” Doucette said. “I think the morale of the team, because of her, is awesome.”
The team’s morale is boosted not only by Miller’s coaching, but also by the camaraderie shared by its members.
“Overwhelmingly, people have love for the sport, and they have love for each other. And I think everyone truly cares so much about how the team is doing that they care about each other too—if your teammates are doing well, you’re doing well, the team is doing well,” Doucette said.
This weekend, the Polar Bears will travel to West Chester, Pa. to play Adrian College (1–3–2), a team they have not previously competed against.
“[Adrian] is the first team that we’re playing that has a kicking game. It’s not as developed as our kicking game is, but it’ll be the first time that we’ll have to deal with that on defense as well,” Doucette said.
Despite the uncertainty of playing a new opponent, the team is confident it will be able to succeed against Adrian.
“We’re trying to pull out new positions. We know what we’re doing,” Tonomura-MacDonald said. “But I think it’ll be nice to have some competition.”