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Women’s rugby cruises past Army 65-8, sets up rematch with Central Washington in NIRA Championship Game


Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics 

It was 20 days ago Quinnipiac women’s rugby head coach Becky Carlson was at a loss for words when asked which player impressed her after the team nearly blew a 30-point lead against AIC. Tonight, a complete 180, smiling from ear-to-ear after her team steam rolled Army 65-8 in the NIRA semifinals.

“No one knows what we went through the weeks following that AIC game, it was a tough thing for us to go back out on the practice field and stare at each other and really think ‘what is it that we want out of this season?’ And you know we’re going for it,” Carlson said after the game.

After defeating Army, Quinnipiac has set up the much anticipated rematch with Central Washington. The Wildcats defeated the Bobcats earlier in the season 19-12, a loss that has added extra incentive for Sunday’s game, as if Quinnipiac needed extra motivation for the Championship Game.

“And because it’s against Central Washington when we played them last time we had such energy such passion, even though we lost that game, as soon as the final whistle blew, we were like ‘let’s play them again’,” Quinnipiac center Flora Poole said.

The Bobcats dominated the field tonight as they were explosive on offense and ferocious on defense. It was apparent immediately after the opening whistle as Flora Poole burst through a hole and split the Army defense for a long distance try. The size, speed and strength of Emily Roskopf, Ilona Maher, and Poole bewildered Army’s back line. 

Quinnipiac oozed confidence and belief with every tackle, scrum and try. The 2016 squad is a confident bunch, which naturally comes when one is a defending national champion. But, it’s the belief factor that Carlson says was missing until the team’s huge 41-22 win over Penn State two games ago.

“That was a defining moment for our program in itself,” Carlson said. “You see that Karee (Helgerson) is wearing her believe shirt, those believe tees go every single year to our players when they believe in each other and they have a collective effort. We had not seen that until the Penn State game.”

Before the loss to the Bobcats the Nittany Lions had not lost a collegiate game in five years. The Bobcats have one more challenge in their way and they are more than ready for one more clash with the Wildcats.

“We lost to them in the regular season and it’s kinda a little bit like acid in your mouth, Carlson said.” I think if you go into it with a state of mind of revenge then you’re more likely to play a little bit more wild and we’re a little bit more composed and we’re treating it like any other game, we want to be able to bring our trophy back to Quinnipiac.”

The Bobcats defend their title Sunday at 2 p.m. at Warrior Field in West Point, New York.

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