The pressure was on for Women’s Rugby at ASU as they left home for the weekend to play against California State University Northridge Women’s Rugby on Saturday, followed by another day of play on Sunday against the University of California San Diego Women’s Rugby. Considering it was Women’s Rugby at ASU’s first away games of the season and that they were coming off of a tough loss against their hometown rivals, Grand Canyon University Women’s Rugby, just two weekends prior, it’s needless to say this was a vital trip for this hungry team. And not only did Women’s Rugby at ASU perform, but they blew their own expectations out of the water with their double wins against CSUN and UCSD.
Beginning with an aggressive opponent at CSUN, Women’s Rugby at ASU certainly had their work cut out for them for their first game of the weekend. CSUN proved to be physically tough with a deep bench full of capable subs to fill in as opposed to Women’s Rugby at ASU’s 4 subs for the weekend. The second half of the game became increasingly dicey, with one red card being given to CSUN for an illegal tackle. However, the game was able to fall back under control and come to a finish in a safe manner for both teams. Ultimately, Women’s Rugby at ASU was able to pull away with an 81-12 win for their first away game of the season.
Former Rugby at ASU player, Sean O’Connor, better known as, “The Mayor of Tempe,” by his friends and former teammates, was able to make the short trip to Northridge from where he lives in the L.A. area to see Women’s Rugby at ASU play. "Being able to see the girls play in California was special. Seeing them walk away with a victory makes me excited to see how the team will do for the rest of the season,' O'Connor said. He was very enthusiastic about the perseverance of this team. "I think a perfect example of how the team got business done was with the try scored by Nadia Current after being fouled, resulting in a red card on CSUN," O'Connor stated. Women’s Rugby at ASU cannot thank him enough for his support last weekend and are always happy to see a familiar face at an away game!
Immediately following their game at CSUN, Women’s Rugby at ASU got on the road and made the 2-and-a-half-hour drive to San Diego to face UCSD Women’s Rugby. UCSD Women’s Rugby was an excellent host for some Sunday rugby and fought hard to the end at this finale finish for Women’s Rugby at ASU. Both teams proved to be talented athletically and desperate for the win. Through the entire game, the score teetered until Women’s Rugby at ASU was able to hold onto the lead in the second half. The final score was a close 27-17, with Women’s Rugby at ASU coming out on top.
Women’s Rugby at ASU worked together and kept their never-failing positive attitudes through every challenge in California. The backs showed off their speed, agility, and grit in the back line, but there was one squad who truly deserves all the props…(and hookers and flankers). The forwards of Women’s Rugby at ASU shined, showcasing their resilience this weekend after continuing to give their all through two big games in two long days.
Jaden Worrell, who plays tight prop head for Women’s Rugby at ASU, is a consistent force on the field and does it all with a smile on her face. “I’ve played double headers before but against teams like CSUN and UCSD? Now that’s a toughie,” says Worrell. “We worked our butts off and it’s so validating to see everyone’s hard work and dedication pay off.” Worrell also scored her very first try at the Saturday game, so an extra congratulations to her for hitting a major rugby milestone!
Another powerful forward on this Women’s Rugby at ASU team is Eli Mulliniks who plays flanker. “I had so much faith in our team and I knew it was going to be a tough fight,” says Mulliniks. “But I had a strong feeling we would come out on top. I’ve been really impressed by our ability to keep giving 100% all the way until the last second.” It’s certainly not an easy job to be on the front lines of a women’s rugby team but these women and all the other forwards on Women’s Rugby at ASU continually come out to impress!
With playoffs fast approaching, Women’s Rugby at ASU is now holding onto their 3-1 record and ready for more rugby. Their next home game is this Saturday, February 18th, at 11 a.m. Come out and show your support for the girls, particularly the seniors of the team, for their last Arizona State University home game of the season. As always, we play at 510 South Dorsey Lane and can’t wait to see you on the pitch!
Photographed by Susan Bray