Spring break begins - for some
Spring break is under way for the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. Most will be heading home or to warmer climates for sun and surf. The men and women of the rugby teams, however, will spend spring break gearing up for tournament play.
Both the men's and women's teams have advanced to semi finals in the 2007 Rugby South Tournament .They are scheduled to play again Saturday, March 31 at Furman University. In the first round, the men beat Duke and the Western Carolina women forfeited.
The men's team's quest for a Division III national title kicked off with a 15–10 season opening win against Division II rival University of South Carolina. The men followed up with wins over Lee University (27-0), Furman (17-12) College of Charleston (41-0, 20-5), American University (52-0) and Coastal Carolina (34-18)
A heartbreaking 15–10 loss to Furman, a closely contested match, was the result of poor play, lack of concentration and distraction in a brutal dog fight around the ruck for most of the match. The Bulldogs redeemed themselves in their next match with a 60–7 victory over Lander University. The match saw five of the 12 tries scored by freshmen cadets Jarred Newton, Jaroslav Vorac and Michael Warwick.
Rugby is a club sport at The Citadel. Men’s rugby has been at The Citadel since 1976, but women’s rugby just marked its one year anniversary. In that short time the team has gone from collection of 16 women who knew very little about the sport to being a No. 1 team in their conference.
The Bulldogs have played against teams from Furman, University of Southern Florida, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, USC, and the College of Charleston.
Last spring, under the leadership of Coach James Grigg and senior cadets Amara Atella and Megan McAuliffe, the team worked hard to learn the basics of the game.
After only two months of practice, the Bulldogs beat the senior women’s team the Charleston Hurricanes in a scrimmage on the parade field.
With the addition of talented freshmen and upperclass cadets, the women went on to post a successful season, with wins over USC, Georgia Tech, College of Charleston, and Charleston Southern.
The third and final regular season game occurred in Tampa on Feb. 25. With a 28-12 victory the Bulldogs placed first in USA Rugby South Collegiate Women’s Division II Pool B conference and secured a spot in the quarterfinals.
If the men and women win their quarterfinal matches, they will plat at The USA RUGBY South Tournament March 21 through April 1 at Furman University.
Information compiled by men's coach Maj. Bill Bell and women's team member cadet Patricia Thibodeau. Photos courtesy of Ford Grigg, Maggie Hawkins and Emily Gilstrap.