Rugby places second at Mudfest

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Rugby places second at Mudfest

No. 7 tackles UW-Eau Claire player as other UWO players look to pick up the ball. The Titans defeated the Blugolds 37-5.

No. 7 tackles UW-Eau Claire player as other UWO players look to pick up the ball. The Titans defeated the Blugolds 37-5.

Lydia Sanchez

No. 7 tackles UW-Eau Claire player as other UWO players look to pick up the ball. The Titans defeated the Blugolds 37-5.

Lydia Sanchez

Lydia Sanchez

No. 7 tackles UW-Eau Claire player as other UWO players look to pick up the ball. The Titans defeated the Blugolds 37-5.

Ally Gwidt, Assistant Sports Editor

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The UW Oshkosh women’s rugby team took home a second-place trophy at UW-Platteville’s 15-team MudFest tournament on Saturday in its spring season opener.

The Titans split up their squad into two teams, Oshkosh Gold and Oshkosh Black, to play with two teams of seven instead of the traditional 15-person team.

Oshkosh Gold opened the tournament with three consecutive wins, including a 39-0 shutout victory over UW-Stout which advanced the team to the championship match against Platteville.
The Titans lost 25-21 against the Pioneers in the final match of the tournament, sending UWO home with its first 7’s trophy of the spring season.

Oshkosh Black opened the weekend tournament with back-to-back wins over Loyola University-Chicago Gold and UW-Eau Claire Navy. The Titans defeated Loyola University 30-0 and Eau-Claire 37-5.
Nonetheless, Oshkosh Black came up short in the championship go-ahead game against the Pioneers. The Titans were defeated by the Pioneers 22-5 in their third and final match of the weekend.
Titans head coach Cat Lewis said the team adapted well to playing 7’s rather than the traditional 15’s rugby style of play.

“Being our first 7’s tournament of the season, I knew this was going to be a learning experience,” Lewis said. “Transitioning from 15 players on each team to only seven can be a bit confusing, plus you only have seven minute halves instead of 40.”

Lewis said the size of the field stays the same but the different team sizes forces the players to adjust.

“The field is the same size so you’re essentially asking players to do double the work they would do in about a fifth of the time. It’s still rugby, but it has to be played very differently and sometimes switching mindsets can be a little difficult,” Lewis said. “Luckily, our players adapted quickly and did a great job working as a team to cover the field and get the ball down our offensive line so we could score.”

UWO senior forward Olivia Juel said the way the Titans rally together for such dominating wins is due to their team chemistry.

“We have great camaraderie,” Juel said. “We are all friends with each other and truly care about each others’ safety on and off the field. This makes us push a little harder to win a ruck and protect our teammate on the ground or make sure they don’t go into contact without support. In the end, we don’t care how many tackles our teammate missed during the game or if they knocked the ball forward, we are all there to enjoy the game and don’t get sucked into making it too serious.”

UWO junior back Claire Jungers said she agreed with Juel and added that the team wants to continue its successes that drive them to play their best every day.

“Our team works very well together and we all have a solid relationship with one another,” Jungers said. “I think it’s just a matter of us wanting to do our best and prove that our club deserves to win conference as well as travel to nationals. The accomplishments this team has made in the past couple years are going down in history, and we just want to keep that momentum going.”

The Titans are off until their next tournament in Whitewater on April 20.