Rhinos Run Wild in Romp of Kenyon
After coming off a successful showing against Ohio Wesleyan University in the first men and women’s rugby doubleheader in several years, both teams looked to improve. They played in the second and final doubleheader of the semester against Kenyon College on April 14.
After losing to OWU despite scoring the first few tries of the season, the Billy Goats were working in full gear towards that elusive first victory. The Rhinos, on the other hand, looked to continue their winning ways and take their victory tally up to five.
Things looked bleak for the Goats as they stepped onto the rugby pitch to face Kenyon. Without five of their seven starting back players, the Goats were at a huge disadvantage. Injuries had prevented the team from fielding its best, many of whom watched with disappointment from the sidelines.
A weakened squad resulted in a disappointing 0-37 loss as the handicapped Oberlin defense gave up six tries and four conversion kicks. The team put up a good, tireless performance but the cohesiveness and force of the more experienced Kenyon team coupled with Oberlin’s injury troubles proved too much.
The grass was much greener on the Rhinos’ turf against Kenyon. The teams had already met twice during the current academic year and standing at 1-1, this game promised a lot as it would serve as an unofficial tie-breaker.
The game was close most of the way with both teams playing hard and fast. However, when the going got tough toward the end of the game, the Rhinos persevered, scoring two tries in quick succession and going on to claim a 19-5 victory.
The players were happy with the victory and are excited that the team has maintained a high performance level throughout the season.
“I think the team has done very well this season. Considering the weather we’ve been playing in, I think we have achieved a lot,” said junior Jessica Gibson.
As the year draws to a close, efforts are being made by both rugby teams to maintain the high spirits that have been exhibited over the course of the season. The men’s team is predominantly made up of underclassmen who have shown their dedication to the team and are willing to continue working towards perfection when they return next year.
The Rhinos have a host of experienced seniors who will be graduating this year. Anticipating the loss, the team has set up structures to teach the younger players the dynamics of the unit and encourage them to take the lead after the veterans depart. Gibson highlights this transition as a major focus of the team right now.
“We are working hard to train our rookie players to take control of the team,” said Gibson. “Each year we lose experienced seniors and it is important to teach the younger players how to train and maintain the team especially since we don’t have a coach.”
The men’s rugby team will put on their black and white again this Saturday, April 21 at 1 p.m as they go up against Bowling Green State University. Also that Saturday, the women will play at the Wittenberg University tournament, facing Wright State University at 10 a.m. and playing again at 3:15 p.m. or 1 p.m., depending on the outcome of the first game.