FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 14, 2008
Contact: K.E. Schwab
Women's rugby club qualifies for National Championship
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - After completing the regular rugby season 5-0 and qualifying for the Division II Collegiate National Championship tournament in April for the first time ever, the women's rugby club at Slippery Rock University has adjusted its game plan for winter.
"We're taking winter to get in even better shape. We're going to have practice sessions for hands on the ball and other practices so we don't get rusty," said Stephanie Gillespie, a player from Montgomeryville.
The Rock women's rugby club team qualified for the nationals last Sunday by beating the University of Michigan 25-13. Ranked No. 7 in the nation, the team recorded three shutouts during the regular season and won the Midwest Rugby Union Championship.
"We are absolutely ecstatic. This is the first time our team has gone this far," Gillespie, a marketing major, said.
The Rock will be the No. 2 overall seed and will play the No. 2 team from the West in the National Championship, in Orlando, Fla. The team won't know its opponent until spring. The Sweet 16 and Elite 8 will take place April 18-19.
"We are the No. 2 seed in the Sweet 16," Gillespie said.
Rugby, a club sport at SRU, is self-coached, but the team of 30 players hopes to find a coach to provide pointers to prepare for the tournament. "We're going to find outside experts to help us improve on everything," she said.
The undefeated season has been especially exciting for seniors. "We have seven or eight seniors, so our accomplishment is emotional coming after four years of hard work," she said
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.