Moving Ahead

SPORTS

Ever since Women’s Rugby Head Coach Katie McAuley took over the program two years ago, the team has more than doubled in players participating. This season, the Lady Owls hope to continue that trend as they look toward Florida Rugby Union’s Florida Cup tournament on November 20.

The team had approximately five girls during McAuley’s first year as a coach in 2008, and around nine last year. This season the team has seen no less than 14 girls show up for each practice, and McAuley hopes the numbers will continue to go up in the coming years.

The Lady Owls don’t have many games scheduled for the fall, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have big ones to play. The first of these games is the season opener at Florida International University on October 2.

“I think FIU will be a pretty important game,” said club president, Allison Garnsey. “They’ve been kind of rallying against us and they have high expectations from us, so I think it will be a good match.”

Another big game for FAU is against the University of Miami on October 23.

“The biggest game this season will probably be UM. In fact it’s always UM because of the big rivalry,” said McAuley.

Even with big games on the schedule, the Lady Owls will turn most of their focus on training a large group of rookies how to play rugby.

“The thing with being in America, is rugby is still a very growing sport,” said Garnsey. “So a significant amount of our players, including myself, have never played before.”

Despite the flood of new players, team captain, Jessica Blackburn, is anticipating a strong performance this season.

“It’s probably going to go better than last season just because we have more players and they’re actually good,” said Blackburn. “This is the most we’ve ever had, so we almost have a full team.”

New players are always welcome to try out as practices are open to all who want to play, according to Garnsey.

The Lady Owls are excited by the growth of the team and they’re hoping this season will help them continue to grow.

Schedule

Oct. 2- (FAU @ FIU)

Oct. 16- (All Florida Day)*

Oct. 23- (UM @ FAU)

Nov. 6- (UF @ FAU)

Nov. 20- (Florida Cup)*

*Locations to be determined