All Practice No Play for Women’s Rugby

Members of the YSU women’s rugby team pose during their pre-pandemic play. Photo courtesy of Ally Borak

By Hailey Rogenski

The women’s rugby team isn’t able to play games yet this season, but that doesn’t stop the players from practicing. The season for this club sport generally runs in spring and fall, and the team hopes to be allowed to compete against opponents in the fall.

Ally Borak, junior biology major and president of the rugby squad, said the team was unable to play in 2020 but performed well the previous year.

“In 2019, we actually made it to the playoffs, so in the fall we’re hoping to make it past that,” she said. “We’ve been pretty active. We still practice four times a week.”

Borak said the team is limited in the number of people allowed to safely practice at one time. 

“Depending on how many people there are, you will be divided into pods, meaning you’ll only practice with that number of people throughout the week,” she said. 

Borak said the new rules mirror those many students are familiar with in classrooms. 

“Of course, we wear masks during practice. We also sanitize all of the equipment before and after use,” Borak said. “Along with our water breaks, we also have our handwashing breaks.” 

Siara Bradich, a criminal justice major and a junior member of the team, said players must be especially careful because rugby is a close-contact sport.

“Not being able to touch and not being able to tackle has been hard, but when we had our coach with us last semester, she brought these pool noodles and we played touch rugby with them,” Bradich said. “Every time we would go to tackle someone, we would just hit them with a pool noodle.” 

Borak said the game of rugby consists of 15 players on the field. Games usually run about 80 minutes.

“It’s a sport where players try to make the ball down the field by running the ball, passing the ball backwards, or kicking the ball down the field. All without getting tackled by the opposing team,” Borak said. 

While they’re unsure if they’ll be able to compete later this year, the rugby team still plans to host fundraisers this season. The team mostly has to pay for its own travel for competition, although it can apply for Student Government Association funding.

“For the spring semester of 2021, we really want to focus on fundraising since we can’t do any competition. We’re gonna try to run two, so if you see any posters up on campus, please try to participate,” Borak said. 

Although she is unsure of when the fundraisers will be, the team will post information about them on its Instagram page.

They often stick to playing teams nearby. This includes traveling to places like Columbus, OH, Pittsburgh and Erie, PA. The team doesn’t usually travel more than 12 hours away. When the team does compete at home, it plays at Stambaugh Stadium, Borak said.

Club Sports administration will decide whether the team gets to play in competitions in the fall, Borak said.

“We will know by next semester. With COVID, it’s all based on what the season is looking like,” Borak said.

The team is accepting new players. Anyone interested in learning more can visit the team’s Facebook and Instagram pages or email Ally Borak at [email protected]