Rugby finishes spring season undefeated


Nicole Girgen

Left to right: Caitlyn Deetz, Diana Alvarado and Annika Culver get ready to tackle a player from La Crosse at Saturday’s match at Southeast Technical College, the Black Katts won 67-21.

Lauren Lott, Sports Reporter

The Winona State Women’s rugby team ended their spring season undefeated with a win Saturday against University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, 67-21, finishing with a 5-0 record.

This was the first full 80-minute game that the Black Katts played this spring.

“I think the highlight of this game was that we were able to give the rookies more playing time and experience,” sophomore Summer Downs said. “I’m glad they could see what a full game is like in preparation for the fall season.”

Although the team had not been able to practice for two weeks prior to this last game, they still performed well.

“After having weather conflicts with our practices, we couldn’t get much in for actual rugby drills,” Downs said. “But we focused on keeping our fitness up for this last game.”

The Black Katts struggled with some penalties throughout this last game, but they adjusted well to the other team.

“We were losing some rucks, so we dedicated more people into that aspect of the game, and then things got better,” first-year Emily Becker said.

Among the team, seven different players scored during the game.

“We have a lot of depth on our team,” Becker said. “This just shows that our team is truly a team, and we don’t rely on one person to score all of the points, everyone is needed and important on the field.”

Despite their record, the team still has a lot to work on going into the fall season.

“Our most recent game was a good eye-opener for everyone on things we need to work on,” Becker said. “We can’t relax our fundamentals, and even when we win every game, there is still something that we can learn from each game to help us improve.”

The team had 10 new players join this spring, so they were glad to get the rookies some experience in playing games.

“Everyone gets really good experience in the spring,” Becker said. “All of this experience helps in the future as we go for another national championship.”

This undefeated spring season makes the Black Katts feel more confident going into the fall.

“Almost everyone that was on the national winning team will still be with us this fall, and we’re such a young team,” Downs said. “The potential that we have is so exciting.”

However, with their title as national championship, they know comes the pressure to repeat.

“Going into the fall the pressure to win the national championship and the excitement that comes with it is very real, but I think the spring season has helped us learn and we are all very excited for the fall,” Becker said.

While the spring season may be over, the team will be doing all they can in the summer, so that they are ready to defend their title in the fall.

“I know I’ll be working hard this summer to make sure I’m prepared to defend our national title, as will many of us,” Downs said.

two-out rally to plate the game-winning run. McLean’s fielder’s choice scored Stout to give

Winona its first lead of the game, 3-2.

Kleman kept the Huskies down in the bottom of the eighth to pick up the win for the Warriors. The sophomore allowed two runs on just five hits over 8.0 IP while striking out 12 batters.

With the win, Winona State now sits in a tie for first place with Augustana in the NSIC standings at 31-5 (10-2 in conference play).

“It’s been such an amazing season,” Van Zyl said. “The team has worked well together and we’re learning every single game. I hope the rest of the season can be as good as the beginning.”

Next, Winona State is set to play Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota on Saturday, April 21 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., and University of Mary on Sunday, April 22 in Bismarck, North Dakota at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.