Women’s rugby faces Notre Dame College in season opener

Kyle Semac

The Kent State women’s team begins its quest for a third-consecutive MAC championship on Saturday in South Euclid, Ohio, against reigning Division 2, now Division 1 competitor, Notre Dame College.

Both teams are now Division 1, and both have shared success in previous years and are ready for a new challenge.

Goff Rugby Report named Notre Dame College Women’s College Team of the Year for 2014. They finished with an 11-1 record and won the Division 2 fall championship over the team that beat them in the previous year’s final, Winona State University.

After four seasons of rugby at Notre Dame — and incredible success — the Falcons decided it was time for a change and are now in Division 1 for the first time.

This team will be a true test for the Flashes, who also joined Division 1 for the fall. Flashes rugby president Hannah Henry says that the girls are “hungry” to face the Falcons and watch out for a few players.

“Junior Holly Chesnick, who has moved to play outside center turned a leaf this season and has stood out to her teammates and coaches,” Henry said. 

She will be replacing junior Miranda Badamo, who will miss the whole season due to a serious injury: a torn ACL in her right knee.

Another player Henry says will make an impact in this weekend’s game is junior music major Shelby Kelemen, who did not play last season because she wanted to focus on her schooling.

“She’s ready to hit the field and show everyone what she’s made of,” Henry said. “Her positivity at practices and team events definitely keeps the good vibes flowing for us.”

On the other side, Notre Dame is stacked with talented girls who are worth watching for in this matchup. The Flashes will need to make sure its game plan is on point to stop these girls.

“Hannah Long is definitely someone to watch out for,” Henry said. “She’s got some crafty handwork with the ball to try and fake us out every time we play.”

The team captain for the Falcons, Patsy Ford, is another who can give opposing teams fits because of her physicality running with the ball. She’s a tough tackle every time Henry said.

“Our players have struggled to take her down in previous matchups,” Henry said. “However, if we focus on getting low and wrapping up tight, which is something that we have been pounding on in the offseason. We should have no problem bringing her down.”

The Flashes play at Notre Dame on Saturday at 11 a.m.

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