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Women's Rugby : 2024 is the Year of the Sun Devil

Updated: Jan 25

With the turn of the new year, there are many opportunities for us to look forward to when it comes to rugby in Arizona. However, I am most excited to be a spectator for the ladies of Women’s Rugby at ASU. Some may say I have a particular bias for this team as a recent alumnus from ASU and their fiery women’s rugby club, but some would be wrong. Those lady Sun Devils are going to be a spectacle for rugby lovers everywhere this Spring season. 

The returning vets of this women’s team put in the work over the summer and into their Fall 2023 pre-season to recruit incoming rookies. And boy, did their work pay off. Not only do they have the numbers to be a powerful team, but they have the talent and heart to back it up. The fresh faces on the team include some who have already put in hours on the pitch prior to this season. Rico Takayoshi, for example, has been playing since she was young. She’s made the big decision to move to Arizona from New Zealand to attend ASU and Women’s Rugby at ASU is reveling in their acquisition of her talent. And of course there are the brave newcomers who are just crazy enough to want to give rugby the old “college try.” And you can quote me on that, of course.

With all the new stars exploding into the open space on this team, we must not forget about those returning stars whose gravity has pulled them in. Sofina Hibbeln, who has been promoted from injured reserve to active president, is more than ready to come out and make up for lost time. “I feel more ready than I've ever been. I am the fastest, fittest, and strongest I’ve ever been and I’m ready to be a playmaker,” Hibbeln says upon her return. It could be argued that she dove face first onto the pitch after splitting her chin open during a preseason match against U OF A. But those who know the game know that blood, sweat, and tears are a packaged deal when it comes to rugby.

Another returning player coming off of an injury is Julia Bognar, who figuratively sacrificed life and literally sacrificed limb in the playoff game against GCU’s women’s rugby team last April. Now that her broken leg has healed, she’s putting her best foot forward as a forward for this powerhouse team. And speaking personally from playing with Bognar, this team is just that much stronger with her in their arsenal.

Now, as much as returning players are the heart of the team, there are two additional returners who make up the soul. Coaches Chelsea “C-Mac” McIntosh and Alex Jaros are back with the heavy responsibility of guiding this team to success this Spring. With Coach McIntosh’s invaluable knowledge of the game, she has the key task of managing and guiding the forwards to glory. This is where Coach Jaros comes in to push the backs into their full potential. As a quick and serious threat to any opponent herself, she has the skills to back up her coaching for the girls in the back line.

With all of these people working together on one team, it is no doubt that this season will be a fresh and exciting one. The ladies of Women’s Rugby at ASU are closing in on their first game of the season in San Diego on January 27th. But if you are like me and can’t wait to get in the stands to watch these ruggers brawl, then you’ll want to be at their face-off with their hometown rival at GCU on February 3rd at 6pm. 

And just when you think this season couldn’t be any more exciting, Women’s Rugby at ASU is entering their 30 year anniversary with their biennial alumni game approaching March 9th. This season will not be one to miss and I am thrilled to give you all the details about Women’s Rugby at ASU’s triumphs as they come. See you on the pitch!


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