Revenge is on the mind. The UVU women’s rugby team is still bitter about not receiving an invitation to nationals last year.
“We were really good and we had a chance of winning,” said sophomore Julie Sulz. “It’s a touchy subject.”
A tournament spot should have opened up since local team and rival University of Utah was on probabtion, but UVU wasn’t invited and they haven’t forgotten it. Receiving an invitation to nationals this post-season is a top priority for the Wolverines.
“We got screwed over last year,” Sulz said.
They are off to a perfect start 2-0 with wins over division foe Mesa State, 36-15, and a “rookie” match victory versus BYU. Although a blemish has yet to show up on their record, the team recognizes a need for improvement.
“Everyone can play really good individual rugby,” Sulz said. “Unless we are working together then we are not going to win. We found that out during our game against BYU.”
Getting off to a quick start is another thing the Wolverines need to improve on if they want to reach their goals this year.
“For some reason it takes us a while to warm up,” said junior Whitney Meine. “It’s always the second half that we show up to the game.”
The players believe those are mistakes easily corrected, especially with the leadership of team captain Louise Karlsson. She may be the oldest player on the team at 30 years old, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t playing at an extremely high level.
“She’s like a Ferrari,” Sulz said. “She’s really fast and she’s like our team leader. She’s been around rugby for a long time.”
The next home game is Saturday, Oct. 6 at 11:00 a.m. on the field east of the free parking lot. The team would like to see more than the usual 20 fans show up, which usually consists of parents.
“I think if people come out once and learn the game, they’d be way more interested,” Meini said. “It’s just the fact that people don’t know rugby at all. If they came out and watched they’d love it. Rugby needs to be more popular because it’s a lot cooler than people think.”
Revenge isn’t just for nerds, it’s for athletes as well. The women’s rugby team is driven to achieving its goal of going to nationals. The pain and frustration suffered from being left out of the tournament last season serves as motivation. So far, that motivation has led them to a perfect start.
If the Wolverines can take care of business against division rivals Mesa State, Utah State and Colorado State, they will be in a great position to get that coveted post-season invitation.