Women’s Rugby Wins Conference Championship

Connor Daniels cdani404@uwsp.edu

Heading into the 2013 season, the Women’s Rugby Club entered with the mentality of taking it one step at a time.

After finishing the 2012 season at 4-4, the Pointers decided to shift gears and take practice more seriously. As a result, UWSP went an undefeated 7-0 and won the conference.

In the season opener against the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the Pointers made a statement early, winning the game by 20 points.

Another key victory was against UW-La Crosse, a team the Pointers had lost against for the past six seasons. La Crosse has also won conference the last five seasons.

After the Pointers won conference, they hosted the first round of the Division II Fall Championship, which consists of 32 teams.

The Pointers fell just short against Minnesota State University-Mankato, losing 22-19.

Scoring leaders in the loss were junior Maggie Armstrong with two tries and senior Bree Valenza with one try and two kicks.

Mankato scored within the last five minutes of the game, which was enough for them to earn the victory over the Pointers.

“It was a close game and it was the best we’ve played all year. They were a challenging team that played with an opposing style,” Valenza said. “It was 80 minutes of everyone giving everything they had.

Head Coach Gray Zischke, who has been coaching the Pointers since 2001, had set his goals before the season only to have them exceeded.

“Our goal was to better than last year. I don’t think we expected to run a perfect season and end up as conference champions,” Zischke said. “The first game of the season gave me an idea that we might be better than expected.”

“Our focus has changed a lot. The girls are really driven this year,” said fifth-year senior Ali Lindner. “Compared from last year to this year, we get along great.”

Fifth-year senior Amanda Anderson has been very impressed with the team’s performance throughout the season.

“When I came here we had a pretty good team and had some rebuilding years,” Anderson said. “This year we came in with a huge recruiting class that’s just all athletic. We couldn’t ask for a better group of girls.”

The recruiting class consists of four freshmen whose contribution towards the team has been vital.

“We’ve got four new freshmen that are really good. They’ve really come out and helped up the whole thing,” Zischke said.

After going undefeated and winning conference, the UWSP Women’s Rugby Team has a solid foundation for continued success. 

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