By Kendall Clark
The Sacred Heart University Women’s Rugby team hosted their inaugural “Pioneer Sevens” tournament on April 1. Yale and Fairfield were the other teams to compete in the tournament.
After defeating Fairfield 24-0 in the first round, then Yale 34-0 in the second round, the Pioneers would then go on to defeat Fairfield for a second time, 29-5 in the championship game.
“It was a great feeling. It’s nice to see all the hard work that we did in the fall and in the spring finally pay off,” said senior Kate McNicholas.
McNicholas realizes the importance of practice and credits all of the extra hours they put in as a key to success.
“It’s really about putting practice to the field. Once you realize that what we do in practice and lift translates to the field, then the game gets easy,” said McNicholas.
Others on the team continued to talk about how proud they were of their teammates and all of their hardwork that was displayed on the field.
“It was really cool to win the tournament. Just because I feel as if we’ve made a lot of progress from the beginning of the year to now. Coming into a D1 program is really cool because I played in high school, but it was just a club team. So we didn’t have the resources we have now, so I’m very thankful,” said freshman Allie Rinaldi.
Rinaldi was sure that this tournament victory was not the ceiling of this team moving forward.
“We’re a very young team. We just became varsity in the last two years. So I think we have a lot of potential and we can be a very good team. The more recruits we get, the more we’ll be able to build the team, the more we’ll build the culture,” said Rinaldi.
Part of that culture is teamwork and the players ability to come together when it matters most.
“It’s the team as a whole. We’ve been together a lot. Both fall and spring season. I think that our chemistry and playing well together has really allowed us to have the success so far,” said freshman Kaylee Hale.
Just like Rinaldi, Hale was determined to get better and continue to work on her skills.
“It goes with practicing hard. It feels good to win, we just have to keep hitting practices hard. Doing what we need to do. Making sure we execute everything that we talk about. If we keeping doing those things then we can keep getting better,” said Hale.
Head coach Michelle Reed was as proud and motivated as the players were.
“It was our goal [to win the tournament]when we started off in the spring. To win our sevens tournament. It was the very first one. We spent a lot of time focusing on wanting to succeed in that. When we played our first game, I knew we were going to win because it was the best we’ve ever played,” said Reed.
Reed is proud of every one of her players and feels confident enough to put any girl in at any moment of the game.
“The system may change, but the product doesn’t,” said Reed.