The AHO women’s rugby team held its annual Rucktoberfest tournament this past weekend at State Farm Field in Boone.
AHO was one of 12 teams from universities across the southeast to participate in the
15th annual tournament.
AHO opened Saturday against NC State, falling behind by 12 points early after two successful NC State tries and one successful conversion by halftime.
This was the last time AHO trailed for the rest of the day, however. The team rebounded, scoring 21 unanswered points to win the match 21-12.
The team carried the momentum into the next two Saturday games, winning 28-0 against South Carolina and 47-0 against UNC Greensboro.
Sunday, AHO started slow again, falling behind to UNC Charlotte early. Unable to recover in time, the team lost 25-10.
Despite the loss, the team’s accumulation of seven points – two per win, one per loss – was enough to qualify to compete in a rematch against NC State for the first overall spot in the tournament and won 22-17.
Junior captain Rachel Baker was the difference maker on the weekend, notching nine successful tries in five games. Baker said she believes the team’s chemistry played a key role in their success.
“I think it was just our motivation and our team,” Baker said. “We’re like a family so we just work well together – it’s awesome.”
While AHO is satisfied with its performance at Rucktoberfest, the team is focused on preparing for its regular season, which begins in the spring.
Baker said the tournament showed the team what they need to work on going forward.
“I think we could improve our tackling,” Baker said. “I think we need safer tackles and to definitely work on wrapping around [opponents] to tackle them properly.”
Last season, the AHO women’s team qualified to compete at USA Rugby’s Division II Semi-finals in California in hopes of winning a national championship, but was unable to attend due to numerous injuries.
To make matters worse, the team AHO beat to qualify, Mary Washington University, went in their place and won the title.
Senior player Chloe Ramjohn said this year the team’s goal is to win a Women’s Division II title.
“We got kind of robbed last year,” Ramjohn said. “We just want to make it back there and prove that we are a top team, and that we can do this on our own without all the help that other teams get.”
Senior captain Miranda Miller said she is confident in the team’s ability to do just that.
“We will go to California this year and we’re going to win,” Miller said.
AHO has two more matches before the regular season begins in the spring. The club plays a Round Robin tournament at Georgia University on Nov. 8 before a Nov. 15 home matchup against Georgia Southern University.
Story: Chris Warner, Intern Sports Reporter
Photo: James Johnston, Intern Photographer