On Saturday, November 4th, we saw girls from all over the valley come out to Tempe for an energetic night. For more than half of these girls, it was their first ever games of rugby. The night started with ruck-touch, to ease into the tackle that is still brand new for most players. The last game of the night was an intense battle of tackle 7's, as the suspense and excitement to full contact shined through.
The two teams competing that night included the well established Scottsdale Wolves, and newly formed Tucson Ravens. The Ravens were notably joined by some Tempe players looking for playing time while they build up their squad for the season. It is also rumored that Red Mountain will have a girls squad this upcoming year. Hopefully there will be full teams all around for an awesome spring season.
The first game of ruck-touch played on Saturday was a crucial fourteen minutes of building team chemistry. Most players on the field had never played with each other before, many more with no rugby experience. Setting these factors aside, the young women played pretty organized. There were smiles and laughs all over the field, as they instantly felt a sense of belonging and sisterhood. The second game focused more on skill and tactic. The Wolves sharpened up their defense, playing marked up pressure, while the Ravens gained confidence on offense, becoming less hesitant. For the third and final game of the night, players warmed up for hitting. The first contact game of the year was amazing. From the first hit to the last, it was awesome seeing these new and veteran players give it their all for the team. Smaller players were taking on people double their size with fearless grace and rucks were being ripped open and turned over at crazy rates.
Notable moments from the weekend include Aislin Jarvis scoring the first ever try for her newly established team, The Tucson Ravens. Breaking away from three tackles off of kickoff, she ran untouched to score the try. She co-captains this team after returning back to play rugby following three years away, with veteran player and senior Kiley Pappas. For the Scottsdale Wolves, new player Anne Williams scored her first ever try. Veteran Charlotte Brandt turned over the ball leading Anne to pick and go, running the gap. She was tackled from behind right before the try line, but extended out to score the try. The Wolves were captained by senior Alex Sutandar, leading them 3-0 for the night with the help of assistant coaches from GCU Women's team, Lauren Campbell, Samantha Garcia, and Kat Clark. These Women have been coming out to help grow the girls game by providing good vibes, endless support, and feedback to the players. We are excited to see this support within the community.
All in all, it was a fantastic night of rugby. These ladies are already building a lasting sisterhood and positive rugby culture. It is exhilarating to see so many new players come out and fall in love with the game. As players put in the work this week at their home clubs, we are excited to see all the growth that will take place in just one week. The next matches are this Saturday in Tucson, at Naranja Park starting at 4pm. Come out and watch if you are in the area!
Here are a few pics from Saturday