Women's rugby takes on Oregon
Rugby hosts the Civil War Saturday at the intramural fields across from Dixon
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 02:02
This weekend is big in the world of women’s rugby for Oregon State. The Beavers will not only host a high school recruiting tournament on Saturday at Student Legacy Park (the intramural fields across from Dixon), but will also play Oregon at 2 p.m.
Saturday will mark the end of league play for the Beavers, but it’s looking positive.
“We’re definitely expecting a win against the Ducks,” said sophomore Dani Riggleman. “We have finally started to click on the field. Having a lot of new players set us back because they weren’t fully understanding the game of rugby, and everything is finally coming together. That’s why I feel so confident about this weekend.”
With an overall record of 3-4 this season, the Beavers are focused on preparing mentally for this weekend’s match against the Ducks. Minor mistakes in Sunday’s match against UC Davis have brought to light important factors the team needs to work on.
“A few handling errors kind of set us back and [UC] Davis really exploited those and took advantage of our weaknesses on that,” said junior Haley Dietz. “But slowly we were able to do the same back and were down by two at half.”
Dietz has played for seven years and is out permanently after a recurring shoulder injury, but is looking to stay involved in an assistant coaching position next year.
“I made my identity as a rugby player seven years ago,” Dietz said. “Any rugby player will tell you once you’ve played the game for one or two years you can’t stop being in the community.”
Sunday’s match resulted in a loss for the Beavers, 20-15, and a repeating theme for the team is correcting mental mistakes.
“We had just played Cal and Stanford the weekend before that, so we were really beat up,” Dietz said of the UC Davis game. “Two games against two league teams is really draining on the body.”
After taking Tuesday off, the practices leading up to the UC Davis game were devoted to communication.
“On Thursday we really came back to make sure had connection as teammates,” Dietz explains. “If we’re not all communicating properly we just collapse.”
The rivalry between Oregon State and Oregon has put a lot of pressure on sports teams all over campus, including women’s rugby. In these practices for Saturday’s match against the Ducks, the girls will be dedicated to working on their game.
“If we don’t make mistakes, they can’t capitalize,” Riggleman said.
During the 20 years the club has been at OSU, the team has had 12 coaches. Current coach David Dickson has brought plenty of excitement to the team.
Dickson is an academic adviser and internship coordinator with the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at OSU. After graduating from and playing rugby for Yale, he went on to win second place in the nation for a men’s team in Florida and also has a national title. Dickson recognized the need for a women’s head coach after being an assistant for the men’s rugby team on campus.
Next year the women’s team loses only four players, compared to past years when the team has lost as many as 14 players, and is hoping the confidence from this weekend will carry over year to year.
Riggleman’s focus for this weekend is helping her teammates prepare because she’s been there before.
“I am preparing by working with the girls to develop their skills, going 110 percent in practice,” Riggleman said. “Really trying to visualize the game this weekend and capitalizing on the mistakes they make.”
Saturday’s high school recruiting tournament will kick off at 9 a.m. on the IM fields. The women’s game against the Ducks will start at 2 p.m., then men’s rugby plays at 4 p.m., and the Corvallis Men’s Rugby Club will follow at 4:30 p.m.
Alex McCoy, sports reporter