Women's rugby to host national tournament game Saturday

WATERVILLE, Maine -- The Colby College women's rugby team will be on familiar turf when the Mules aim for a national championship run in the USA Rugby Division II Fall Championships.

Colby opens national tourney play at home, on its new field Saturday at 1 p.m. against the University of New Hampshire in the opening round of Northeast Region play. With a victory, the Mules advance to regional play at Kutztown (Pa.) University on Nov. 18-19.

Behind scrappy play, Colby won the New England Small College Rugby Conference (NESCRC) for the second straight year. 

"We are relatively small when it comes to physical size, so we use our quickness and support to advance the ball up the field against physically larger players," Colby head coach Susan Childers said. "We also apply strong defensive pressure, which results in turnovers by the opposition."

Colby finished the regular season at 5-2 overall and then beat University of Maine-Orono to win the conference title. The Mules also had wins over Middlebury College, Connecticut College, Wheaton College, Plymouth State, and Franklin Pierce. The Mules had losses to Bowdoin College, a varsity program, and University of Maine-Orono.

Colby made the national playoffs for the first time last year and fell to University of Albany in opening-round play. 

The Mules have been led this season by seniors Clare Stephens, Jess Edlund, Elissa Guerra, Laura Wu, and junior Ella Maddi.

"While there are some talented players on our team, it is our team support play that has given us the edge over other teams," Childers said. 

New Hampshire placed second to league champion Coast Guard Academy in the New England Wide Rugby Conference. The winner of Saturday's game will face either Vassar College or Roger Williams University in a round of 16 game at Kutztown.