As the Temple alumni and fans gathered in the evening outside of University Village, the women’s rugby club was trying to continue its success in the chase for the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union playoffs on Saturday. The Owls defeated Saint Joseph’s 31-10 in a game that started with the hitting hard and pushing from the Cherry and White.
The Hawks found it difficult to get out of the hole that was their end zone behind them throughout the game, as the Owls applied pressure. Temple took advantage of the momentum and struck first on a group effort by pushing the huddle forward to score, making it 6-0 Owls. The team took back possession from St. Joe’s and scored once again by getting down in the dirt and pushing their pile through the goal line.
The score was 12-0 all of a sudden and the Owls could’ve gotten lackadaisical, but coach Owen Jones wasn’t going to let that happen.
“We kept the intensity up from the start and made sure to keep at them,” Jones said.
Senior eight-man Kayleigh Dymond scored for all five of her tries, bringing her total to 25 points. Senior Rachel Bandura went three for five on her conversions as well, resulting in six points. Jones singled these two players out last week as the leaders of his team and the two girls answered, combining for the team’s 31 points.
Another player who was a pleasant surprise to see playing well was senior Brie Ziegler. The hard-nosed tackler suffered a torn ACL last fall and had to miss spring season. With Ziegler back in the lineup, Jones can feel a little more secure with the added veteran.
Jones will need Ziegler and others more than ever as junior flanker Ally Rasp suffered a broken hand in the game against the Hawks.
“Losing her is a big loss as she does a lot on the field, but we are lucky to have a lot of players who are capable and ready to step in to fulfill that role,” Jones said.
Jones began to sub in many young players towards the end of the game.
The Owls felt confident with the win and that this would continue to push them toward their ultimate goal for the season which is to make the EPRU playoffs.
Their immediate goal will be LaSalle as Temple will face the Explorers Saturday. The winning team wins the second seed, along with a first round home game. The losing team heads to Shippensburg for the first round match.
With all this on the line, Jones is still confident in his team.
“The team continues to improve each game,” Jones said. “The confidence of each player is showing through in their performance and the girls are truly playing as a cohesive team for the full 80 minutes.”
Maxwell Reil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.