In front of a modest but appreciative home crowd, the Montana State Women’s Rugby Club took down Utah State by a score of 49-21. The beautiful sunny weather matched the Cats’ play on the pitch, running up and down and all over the USU side on their way to their second win of the young season.
The women’s rugby club only became an official sporting club at MSU last spring semester. Now able to bear the Bobcat name, the women compete in DII Collegiate Rugby, allowing them to compete for national championships. Boasting a strong core of nearly 30 players, the squad competes in what is known as Rugby Union in the fall season. This means that there are 15 players to a side trying to advance the ball toward the endline without passing the ball forward, only laterally or backwards. Should they touch the ball down past the endline, they earn five points — called a try — with a chance to earn an additional two on the ensuing placekick.
“The game is really about possession,” MSU Head Coach Ed McKenna explained. “It’s a little more continuous than, say, football.” Rugby began in the 1800s in England but has been steadily gaining a foothold in the United States in recent decades, especially on college campuses.
On Saturday, the Cats made the seemingly complicated game look easy. After a tenuous first few minutes, MSU busted the game open and didn’t look back. Up by a narrow margin at the half, the Cats kicked it up to another gear after the break and, if not for a couple late Utah State tries, the final score would’ve looked much uglier. Three Bobcats scored twice each to lead the way for MSU: Dallas Flager, Maria Michelotti and Ivanna Lopez.
“Utah State scored a couple late tries, but for the most part we controlled the game, which was fantastic,” McKenna said. “I hope that the student body will recognize that there are a lot of sports clubs that do really well … so get out there and support your peers. They’re committed and we hope that this is something that our administration and students can get behind.” The Cats continue their homestand this weekend with a match against Utah Valley as the conference season kicks into full gear. They will kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. on the Dobbie Lambert intramural fields behind Roskie dorm.