Women’s rugby to face Michigan in playoffs


A Kent State women’s rugby player tries to break through a Central Michigan defenders tackle to score a try during their game at Dix Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. Kent State went on to win big against Central Michigan with a final score of 81-10.

Kyle Samec

The Kent State women’s rugby club team will host the University of Michigan on Sunday night at Dix Stadium, where they will try to change their playoff history.

In 2013, the Flashes were in the Division II fall playoffs and lost. In 2014, they moved to Division I and lost to Penn State University, the best team in the country.

The hope this time around is to get over that hump, said coach Jeff Horton.

“To say the least, we have underperformed in the playoffs under my watch and I take full responsibility for that,” Horton said. “Our mindset wasn’t where it needed to be to compete at a high level and the team wasn’t prepared to fill the role of players who went down because of injuries.”

Senior fly-half Sarah Giachetti said this year is different for more reasons than just playing a new team in the playoffs. The team has a new mind set.

“We’re much more disciplined than last year and our mental toughness has improved tremendously,” Giachetti said. “The last two years we’ve kind of been handed a spot in the sweet 16 because we won our conference, but this year we won that as well as beat (University of Pittsburgh) and the University of Maryland.”

Giachetti said the team deserves to be in the playoffs this year more than ever and wants them to make the most of this opportunity.

“It’s against a big name team on our home field in front of our home crowd,” Giachetti said. “Our goal is to steamroll Michigan and make some noise within the collegiate rugby community.”  

In order for this season to have a better ending than previous ones, Horton said the team needs to play in rugby style — that means being physical.

“We are a hard-hitting team and we need to maximize on the opportunities we are given on offense from start to finish,” Horton said. “(This will) keep (the Wolverines’) defensive line on its heels.”

The Wolverines (2-4, one game cancelled) opened up the year by beating Ohio State University and Michigan State University and then failed to record a win throughout the rest of the season, losing to number one Penn State and number 12 Indiana University.  

The match is set for Sunday at 6:35 p.m. at Dix Stadium. Admission is free to anyone.

Kyle Samec is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].