Lady Ruggers Capture Metro New York Championship
The air was crisp, and after the first snowstorm of the season, the Fairfield University women’s rugby captured their second consecutive Metro New York Division 2 championship with a 20-0 win over Molloy College.
” It feels incredible,” said senior Kristen Bona. “We had been striving for this the entire season since we lost in nationals last year.” With the win, the team has now not lost a league game since Hofstra defeated them in the 2009 Division 2 Championship game. The Lady Ruggers have not lost a match since last years national semi-final game against Bentley.
“Over are seniors’ four years on the team, we have grown tremendously in numbers and as a program,” said senior Cori Gautieri. “Winning the championship two years in a row means so much to us because we were able to prove that we deserved the respect we gained within our division.”
The Lady Ruggers cruised through regular season play, outscoring their five opponents 199-48, their closest match being against cross town rival Sacred Heart 22-10.
However, the Lady Ruggers were tested in the postseason.
Fairfield opened up play at Maritime College against fourth seed Fordham University. During their regular season meeting, Fairfield dominated the Rams, 35-12. Yet, Fordham proved to be the squad’s stiffest competition since their October 2nd meeting with Sacred Heart. At the half, Fordham and Fairfield were nodded up at 10. The second half was all about Fairfield. They outscored the Rams 15-0 on route to a 25-10 victory to catapult the Stags into the championship game against Molloy College. Senior Cara Galterio, junior Elizabeth Cortez and sophomore Maggie Demoura all scored on tries for Fairfield.
“These girls have the most heart of anyone I know. They always support one and other on/off the field and don’t let anything or anyone stand in their way,” said senior Emily Barrett.
Later in the day, the team had a much-anticipated rematch with Molloy College, a team that they dismantled, 58-12, at home on October 9th.
Fairfield came out firing, converting two first half tries and jumping out to a 10-0 halftime lead. The Stags added two more tries in the second half and defeated Molloy 20-0, winning their second consecutive “Metro” championship.
“Our team is special in the bonds we have created over the years,” said Gautieri. “We formed a team that is like a family.”
The team now looks to capture their first-ever national title. The journey starts in two weeks when the Lady Ruggers battle it out in the regional playoffs at home against the winner of the Lock Haven and Kutztown/Millersville game. After losing in the national semi-final last season, and returning nearly all of their players from that team, the Stags believe that the time to win is now.
“With the momentum our team has now, we’re set up to be stronger than ever,” said Gautieri.
The Stags return to action at home on November 12th in their attempt to claim the regional championship.