This summer was an exciting period for rugby both globally and locally. The sport was announced as an event in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The U.S. men's national team had a strong showing in the Churchill Cup, an invitational tournament with England, Canada, and other countries. The U.S. women's national team finished fifth at the Women's Rugby World Cup.
MIT women's rugby team also rode the wave of rugby success this summer. Coming off their national championship last spring, Erika C. Granger '10, Caroline H. Hunting '11 and Alyssa M. Baccarella '11 all made the Northeast U-23 All-star squad, which competed in Santa Barbara against other teams from around the country. Not only did all three players play major roles in the Northeast winning the championship, but Baccarella was also named the tournament MVP. Hunting and Baccarella were also invited by the U.S. National Team to an assembly of potential Olympic team members. Other players like Marisa Jasso, Aislyn Schalck and Kristen Anderson all had strong summers playing for local teams in Texas, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. MIT women's rugby has certainly left their mark on the national Rugby landscape this summer. On September 11th, the team competed in its first tournament of the season, the Beantown College Classic. They tore through the tournament field, winning all of their pool games (including one against Bowdoin, where Rugby is a varsity sport), despite being matched up against opponents from a higher tier. They were defeated in the final by Northeastern, but the second-place finish was still considered a huge success.
The tournament also allowed ample playing time for the new members of the team, the largest in three years. The following weekend marked the beginning of league play for the team. They narrowly beat Tufts, 10-5, and followed by a dominant 57-17 win over Colby-Sawyer.
The Engineers play their first home game of the season on Sunday, October 3rd against divisional powerhouse Bates. A win would give the team a commanding lead of the Northern Conference and bring them closer to securing home field advantage for the playoffs. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. as MIT seeks to defend its national title.