BY Joe Samilenko
Senior Staff Writer
The Sacred Heart women’s rugby team began a three game homestand entering to close out the regular season on Sept. 28. After four straight games away from Park Avenue Field to begin the season, the team looks to capitalize on the home field advantage.
Led by coach Michelle Reed, the Pioneers hold a 1-4 record in conference play this season following a 29-17 loss to Brown University. As the fall season comes to a close, Reed has been encouraged by the newcomers on the team.
“The biggest success this season so far has been integrating the incoming freshmen with the current program,” said Reed. “The transition of these freshmen into the program was the easiest in the last four years. The team was ready to welcome the new class and the freshmen were ready to play rugby.”
Reed began her tenure with the team in the spring of 2015. Reed and assistant coach Jennifer Salomon relay a familiar message to the team before each match.
“Before we step onto the field for a game, we as a coaching staff remind the team of the goals we have set for ourselves as a program and to be better than they were the week before,” said Reed.
Reed has short and long-term goals in sight for their home stretch and their future.
The team is still in a position to make a postseason run if they close out the regular season successfully.
“Our short-term goals are: dominate the first five minutes to set the tone, don’t let the ball past the 13-channel on defense, and break the gain line 100% of the time on offense,” said Reed. “Our long-term goal is to learn to actively listen to each other to become a unit.”
Junior Isabel Cuddy believes that through the adversity, the team has created a bond that will benefit the team in the future.
“We have faced a lot of adversity as a team. But, in the end, we always manage to come together and put the work in,” said Cuddy.
As the team prepares for their remaining games, they don’t have to worry about how long the bus ride will be.
“One thing I love about home games are the fact that we have more fans, especially other student athletes that come support us, which we all really appreciate,” said Cuddy.
Senior Allie Rinaldi added that playing at home provides an advantage because they are familiar with the field and it motivates the team to “defend our house.”
“The best part of being on this team is the relationships I’ve built with my teammates,” said Rinaldi. “They’re my closest friends and we have each other’s back on and off the field.”
The team will face Mount St. Mary’s University on Oct. 20 and Molloy College on Oct. 26 to wrap up the season. Beyond that, the NIRA Tier II Playoffs begin in early November.