Women’s rugby falls to UW-La Crosse

Story by Carolyn Tiry

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The UW-Eau Claire women’s rugby team lost 27-17 in a hard-fought game to UW-La Crosse Saturday, but in the process they became the first team this season to score any amount of points on the Eagles.

 

In their previous three games, La Crosse crushed their opponents by no less than 64 points and, in one case, 118 points.

 

Head coach Erin “Rosie” Rosenberger said that even though they lost, the game was still a good sign for the future of the team.

 

“Everyone assumed because of the scores in previous games that they were
No. 1, and we wanted to prove that that wasn’t a given,” she said. “It was big for us to prove that they weren’t going to walk all over us like they have everybody else.”

 

Eau Claire scored three tries for 15 points and one kick for two. Two of those tries came late in the game, which flanker Sarah “Suki” Suchla, who scored twice, said was an important showing for the team.

 

“To score at the end, and show them that we were there through the whole game, just to kind of put it in their face, like, ‘Hey, we’re still here,’” she said. “It felt really good. It’ll give us energy for our next game, too.”

 

Justine “JT” Wypych, a starting wing and outside center, scored once for Eau Claire. She said that despite some rough patches, the team had some excellent runs.

 

“The back line was really good with staying together and talking,” she said. “We had some great passes out, and we looped, and play just flowed really well.”

 

Suchla and Wypych both added that it was a good feeling to be the first two players to score on La Crosse.

 

Both teams incurred a lot of penalties, especially during the rucks, but Rosenberger said that was partly due to the particularity of the sir and partly due to the roughness of the game.

 

She said she didn’t think the high number of penalties was any weakness of her team, however.

 

“I think our weakness was that we were a little hesitant in passing,” she said, “and so we could have taken advantage of some fast backs and fast wings. But I think overall, we played our game, and we played really well.”

 

The Blugolds are now 3-1 on the season with two games left before the Sweet Sixteen Midwest playoffs. They will travel to Madison this Saturday and then to Platteville for their final game of the fall season. Rosenberger said though their upcoming games aren’t necessarily a given, based on the season so far, they do expect to win both.

 

Rosenberger said the team made some changes and improvements during the off season, and they’re looking forward to the rest of the season and a chance at making the playoffs.

 

“We’ve changed our game and thrown a lot of new stuff at them, and I think it has re-energized them, especially the vets,” she said. “They’ve done a great job of learning quickly and processing and showing it on the field. I’m really proud of them.”

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