The Sacred Heart University women’s rugby team celebrated their senior day on Oct. 22, with a resounding 47-0 victory over Mount St. Mary’s College. This was a joyous day for the program, its senior players and their families as they wore their home uniforms one last time.
“Senior day was very bittersweet,” said senior Stephanie Wilson. “Although there was a feeling of sadness among us seniors since this was our last home game, there was also a feeling of happiness and pride in what we helped build.”
Since their inception in 2016, every class that has come though the program has been an integral building block for the future of the program. This senior class was no different.
“This senior class has been instrumental in our progress over the last several years,” said Head Coach Michelle Reed. “It has been through their hard work that we have been able to build the team and compete at the Division I level in NIRA.”
The match against Mount St. Mary’s held a great deal of importance to the team, not only because it was senior day, but also because they have given Sacred Heart many close, challenging games over the last three years.
“Mount is a team we lost to our freshman year, and then only beat by a try or two our sophomore and junior years,” said Wilson. “So to come out with a 47-0 win this year just shows how much we’ve grown as a team.”
While Sacred Heart received contributions from nearly the whole team in this win, it was ultimately the seniors who put on a show. The seniors combined for seven out of the Pioneers’ nine tries.
Emotions ran high during this match as 11 of their players played on the Park Ave. Field for one last time. Each was celebrated for all the hard work and dedication they put into the program for the last four years.
“After the game, the tears do come as I realize I will not be coaching these students again after this year,” said Reed. “Each one means something special to the program and I can’t wait to see what they bring to the world.”
The Pioneers have had an up and down season this year with a record of 2-3-1. But this program has meant so much more to these athletes than just the wins and losses.
“It’s difficult to describe how much this program has meant to me in the past four years,” Wilson said. “It’s where I met my best friends, had some of my best and worst days and grew as not just an athlete but a person as well.”
The Pioneers return to action for their final game of the year Nov. 5 when they visit Army West Point.
“I’ve seen how much this program has grown in four years, and I’m excited that other people are starting to notice too, because it’s definitely special here,” said Wilson.