Women’s rugby continues winning streak


Colleen Hagan

JSC women's rugby team

For the JSC women’s rugby team, it’s been a season for the books. Currently, the women’s team is 3-0. The first game they played this season was against New England College, which they won 61-0.

Desiree Penrod, the co-captain of the team, has always appreciated the traditions of JSC rugby. “For our first home game, we usually line up by our jersey numbers and walk out to Irish music in silence and then circle up in the center of the pitch and get pumped,” she said.

Penrod was very proud of the team for beating Colby Sawyer, a victory that had been a long time coming. “Colby-Sawyer College was our second home game and it was a very emotional one,” said Penrod. “The JSC Women’s Rugby Club has not beat Colby-Sawyer since 2012. So, in all of the current members’ time here at Johnson, we have never beat them. That day, I felt as though the club made history. We definitely wanted it more, and left everything we had on the pitch at the end of the match. We won that game 46-5.”

As with all collegiate sports, travelling is a necessity. Since rugby is not a varsity sport, vans can be hard to come by, so resorting to car pools is a necessity. With long car rides to the games, bonding comes easily between the team members.

“The early car rides are usually quiet because everyone is tired and passes out after our first stop . . . usually to Dunkin’. Once everyone awakes from their catnap, the dynamic changes and we are loud and excited,” said Penrod. “We jam out to music and sometimes even play games such as Heads Up. It’s a great bonding experience and we get to share it with one another.”

Colleen Hagan, the president of the rugby team, has a lot of responsibilities when it comes to helping the team succeed. “The best way I like to describe it is being the organizer, because I do not take being president as being able to tell everyone what to do, but to make decisions for the team based off what they want and what we need,” Hagan said, noting that preparing as a team and as the president are two very important but different things: “As president, I have to make sure that we have portable restrooms, an EMT and a referee at the field. The other team has directions and is all set to play, and I have to make sure the field is lined and all ready to go. As a team, we prepare for games with practices on every Tuesday and Thursday, and the Thursday before a weekend match we like to get together and spend time with each other so that we can all bond. When we are all on the same page off the field, it makes us unstoppable on the field.”

The women’s rugby team has always set a mutual goal, but also sets individual goals for each player. Alicia Eddy, a second-year team player, sets a goal every year to accomplish by the end of the season. “I wanted to become a better tackler and work on my fitness. The stronger I get, the more effective tackle I can bring for the team,” she said. “Playing rugby has always been a part of my life. I have been playing since I was 7 years old and have made goals for every year I have been on the team. I think it is a critical part of the sport, because if you don’t have goals, you won’t be on the same page on or off the field.”

On Saturday, Oct. 21, the women’s rugby team traveled to Keene State College in New Hampshire, where they garnered yet another win.

Looking ahead, Penrod hopes for more of the same. “October 27-29 is the first round of playoffs, which we will definitely be attending,” she said. Then the weekend of November 3-5, the second round of playoffs will be held. Nationals will come after that.

“My focus, however, is one game at a time. Nationals is the goal; however, we still have a lot of rugby to play before we can even think about going to nationals.”