On Saturday, March 30, the women of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Black Sheep rugby team travelled to Scottsdale, Arizona for the first game under the new leadership. The girls all performed exceptionally well, leading to the best game in the team’s history.
A non-traditional game, it was broken into thirds. The game started with nervous anticipation until the first tackle less than 30 seconds into the game. Now everyone was ready. Through many tackles, rucks, scrums, line outs, and just feverish play, the Black Sheep were able to gain quick possession of the ball and almost advance to the goal line. There were many turnovers and it was a hard fought game on both sides.
The Black Sheep scrum, the iconic image of rugby that looks like a large knot of people, was once again unbeatable. After multiple technicalities and fouls, scrums were carried out in which the Black Sheep dominated.
The Black Sheep had very few fouls and were able to play with honor. Play was stopped after one Black Sheep accidentally picked up another girl and threw her to the ground. Other than that, the Black Sheep played admirably, a credit to skills coach Taylor Wilson.
The Black Sheep scored numerous tries (goals) and were able to pick up extra points with three completed “field goals.” It was a hard fought game.
Unfortunately, in the second third of the game, Maine Cheukman dislocated her shoulder and was prevented from continuing to play. A guest player from New Mexico injured her leg in the final third of the game and was also unable to continue. Beyond that, the only other injury was a minor concussion. It was, overall, a successful game.
Man of the Match, a special award given to whichever player the coaches believe shows exceptional excellence, went to Victoria Walker. Walker was able to continuously adapt, taking the advice of the coaches and excelling. She played numerous roles that were entirely new to her as she pushed through lines and managed to stay on her feet.
The women’s rugby team has never been very large, but through the dedication of a small group of girls, we finally have a team we can be proud of. Though the game was a loss, the Black Sheep scored many points and were able to walk away with our heads held high. Of course, we would not have done as well without the assist of some players from the Queens Rugby team at New Mexico Tech University. Those girls travelled a long way and were instrumental in advancing play.
Congratulations to all who played. The esteemed members of the Black Sheep who played are: Rudi Isenbarger, Victoria Walker, Setsuko Alatini, Dee Dozier, Au Cheukman (Maine), Sophia Newton, Kayla Winklepleck, Coach Taylor Wilson, and Captain/Coach Kellyn Wagner.
If you or someone you know is interested in joining the men’s or the women’s rugby teams, please email Captain Kellyn Wagner at email@example.com. Black Sheep! Baaaaaa!
[Copy Editors: The Baaaaa! is part of the cheer so you can leave it in as is. – Julia]