USD’s women’s rugby team opened the fall season with a 46-36 victory over rival South Dakota State at home on Saturday.
Following a 9-2 fall season last year, the Coyotes earned the win in their first game of the season. The game was contested under the 10’s format, meaning each team sported 10 players on the field.
“It was such a great opportunity for the rookies to fall in love with the sport,” sophomore Eden Liebenthal said. “It gives the team confidence and creates excitement for the sport.”
One of those rookies, freshman Mary Borer, said keeping her cool was her biggest challenge Saturday.
“Since it was our first game of the season and my first game ever, I felt a huge adrenaline rush from nerves and excitement,” Borer said. “Rugby has such an intense competitiveness to it and I love it.”
Liebenthal tallied two tries in the match while Borer added another.
Borer said teammates stepping into leadership roles has been integral to the development of the team.
“Our team does an excellent job working together,” Borer said. “The experienced players are great leaders and they communicate very well with the rookies.”
Last season, USD beat SDSU 17-7, earning their first victory over the Jackrabbits in over a decade. Liebenthal said the win was a confidence builder for the team.
“Beating State was exhilarating,” Liebenthal said. “It was definitely a great start to the season.”
You can catch the team in action next against Augustana and SMSU in Sioux Falls on Saturday.