Women’s rugby wins playoff match versus Michigan

Kyle Samec

The Kent State women’s rugby club team proved this season is different from the previous two: It won a playoff game Sunday night at Dix Stadium against the University of Michigan in the round of 16 of the USA Rugby playoffs. The team trailed at halftime, but fought back in the second and cleaned up fundamental flaws, said coach Jeff Horton.

“We lacked intensity in the first half,” Horton said. “We struggled with rucking and made far too many mental errors. The women were able to calm themselves down at halftime and regained focus on playing our style of rugby.”

That style is playing physical and attacking, not waiting for the ball carrier to get to the Flashes’ defenders, said Horton.

“We definitely came out with a different attitude,” Horton said. “We became a more physical club and started maximizing on the opportunities given.”

Horton said the opportunities were a result of the Flashes’ outside speed and spreading the ball out wide.

The Flashes won 24-14 over the Wolverines after trailing 14-0 at halftime.

The victory was much needed, as it got the Flashes past where previous years ended and caused celebration among the seniors especially, said Michaela Williams.

“(The atmosphere) was electric,” Williams said. “We worked for that win, and some people were tearing up because this will be one of our last games. We just have so much positive momentum.”  

The difference this year compared to the last two when the Flashes were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs was preparation, said Williams.

“Point blank, we just weren’t as ready,” Williams said. “We went into those games hoping for the best, but this season we knew we were ready and prepared and could compete with anyone.”

The next playoff match opponent and location has yet to be decided.