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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

“Like Soccer and Football Had a Baby” – Women’s Club Rugby Shares What Makes This Sport Special

Read to discover the unique history and memories of the women’s club rugby team at Loyola.
Kathleen Malcotti

On a chilly afternoon in September, the Loyola Women’s Rugby club president and vice president were sitting on the front porch of Humanities when they spotted a teammate walking up to the Student Center. They shouted her name and Jayci Carll ’26 turned around and smiled back at them. This is one of the things Jayci loves about being in rugby.

“It’s a family and I feel very connected with my people. I have their backs and they have mine. It’s a sport where I feel very needed,” Carll said.

Addie Loverin ’24 is the president of Women’s Club Rugby at Loyola. She has played the sport since her sophomore year of high school. When touring Loyola’s campus as a prospective student, she made it a point to inquire about the presence of a women’s rugby team on campus. However, when COVID-19 struck in her first year, she waited to get involved until her second year at Loyola. Once she stepped foot on the field, Loverin had the realization that she was learning the same game in a whole new way.

“In high school, my coach was super nice, but he didn’t go through the basics the same way. Kathleen, our coach now, really walked us through the basics and made sure everyone knew the actual rules,” she said.

Prior to rugby, Loverin played for multiple other sports teams. She admitted that no sport has matched what rugby has given her.

“No other sport has felt that much like, ‘We want you and want to find the skills you’re best at and use them.’ Every single person has a skill they can use on the field,” she said.

The club’s vice president had never played rugby until she came to Loyola. Sofia Hernandez ’26 discovered the team during the FAC Attack, where she met Loverin.

“I went to the first practice, and it was a very welcoming environment.  Everybody wanted to see me succeed in a sport I had no idea how to play. People are quick to want to get you good at the sport,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez is also looking forward to her new position this year as vice president. She cares for her team and seeks to provide them with as many opportunities as possible, including a scheduled media day.  Taking on this role is important to her, and she takes the time to emphasize that.

Hernandez said, “Last year, we had really good leadership and we were down to how many players you could choose for the position.  When we got honored, I felt like we had to do this for the team, we have to do this for the future of the club.”

Club treasurer, Amanda Belmont ’25, played rugby in high school and came to Loyola hoping to play because she loved the community it brought her.

“When I came in, I was a little freshman, and you would want to kind of follow people and take on leadership.  I feel that over the years, my leadership on the team has started to grow – not fully developed, but there’s times people look up to you because you’ve played a little bit longer,” Belmont said.

Prior to four years ago, this club did not run for an extended period of time. The Women’s Club Rugby team was originally formed in the 1980s after the men’s team in 1976 but was disbanded in 2019. Despite the long hiatus, they have had many accomplishments since their return. Last season, the team was ranked third in the Eastern Penn Rugby Union. During the fall of 2021, they were ranked No. 8 in the country. In the spring of 2022, they were ranked No. 10 in the country. They hope to repeat history and reclaim their spot at Nationals this year. 

Fundraising is one of the bigger tasks and the officers plan to take this on by designing and ordering custom team t-shirts. They then plan to sell these shirts outside of Boulder with a portion of the profits going to the club and the other portion supporting an organization for Alzheimer’s. Loverin is looking forward to the presidential position and wants to ensure that the team produces a welcoming atmosphere for all.

She said, “For us, it’s super important to reach out to as many people as we can even if they’re kind of interested but not really.  Everyone is welcome on our team and that is something I love here.”

Not only are they a tight-knit community, but they are also diverse with many different majors and areas of interest on the team.

“Every person on our team can relate to everyone who wants to join our team. For people worried about joining a sport, I feel like it’s the best place to find some comfort in knowing people that have interests like you.” Loverin said.   

Hernandez explains how female athletes are often put in a box because of the concept of “sports” versus “women’s sports.” She states that as a woman in the game of rugby, you do not need to feel restrictions in how rough you play or not. She adds that men’s rugby and women’s rugby are really the same.

She said, “We may be women’s rugby, but we’re just playing rugby. It is cheered on, and it’s encouraged to be a strong woman and it’s encouraged to be powerful.”

Hernandez smiles while saying that the team gets a little bit hyper and chaotic on the way to practice. She says there is always someone screaming and a song blaring. However, one thing is guaranteed – there will always be something fun and memorable to cherish along the way. 

“Come watch us play and if you like it, come join us.  We love to teach people new things and we’d love to have you,” Hernandez said.

You can find the team’s season schedule on their Instagram.  Their first game is set for this Friday, Sept. 29.   

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