Women’s rugby loses season opener

Kyle Samec

As good as this Kent State women’s team (0-1) is – winning back-to-back MAC championships – Notre Dame College (1-1) seems to be in a class of its own. The Falcons took advantage of every miscue the Flashes made and proved their elite physicality in a 77-7 victory on Saturday in the Flashes’ season opener.

The pure size of the forward players for NDC proved to be the most difficult matchup.

The Flashes only score came from junior Michaela Williams. The Falcons size advantage proved to be too much for the Golden Flashes.

“They’re really forward heavy, which means they’re just giving it to their big girls and running it down our throat,” team Captain Sarah Giachetti said. “It’s a matter of just being prepared at any point for someone to come at you at full-go and to be able to meet them … we have to initiate the contact instead of getting caught on our heels.”

The Flashes also struggled tackling, something that will be worked on heavily in practice next week says Giachetti.

“Coach Jeff (Horton) told us that it will be a very physical practice on Tuesday,” Giachetti said. “We’ll be hitting a lot, rucking a lot, and working on getting in position … for each individual to know where they need to be at the correct time is the only way it (playing as a unit) works.”

Head Coach Jeff Horton elaborated more on the technical side of things as ways to improve and get ready for the University of Pittsburgh next Saturday.

“When it comes to the tackle, we need to make sure we get a solid hit, and on offense, moving the ball more efficiently,” Horton said. “We hung onto the ball a step too long every time and instead of avoiding contact, we were making sloppy passes because we were trying to make the pass going into contact.”

Other phases like rucking and counter-rucking – which are ways to maintain possession of the ball for the attacking team after a tackle (rucking) and defensive team (counter-rucking) – are areas that Horton says the team must get better at.

The competition won’t get any easier in D1-AA this season. Even though it’s early, these improvements are key to success down the road if they are to win their third-straight MAC championship.

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