Girls’ rugby remains resolute


Photo Rafaela Coelho

Senior captain Rachel White (left) prepares to assist her teammate junior Maddie Scott during their 60-12 victory over Newton on April 27.

Julia Desautels, Staff Writer

After a traumatizing bus crash while on the way to their first game against Lincoln-Sudbury, the girls’ rugby team is working to move forward and have a successful season with the help of the community and each other.

Due to minor injuries sustained in the crash and other sports-related injuries, the team had to temporarily put their season on hold to regroup and recover.

“The hard part is when people are asking ‘How are you?’ and you have to think about it,” coach Emily Philbin said. “We’ve experienced something really traumatic; some people are definitely still shaken up — me included — but they have each other.”

The accident is an extremely sensitive subject for the team and coaches to talk about.

“People around school have good intentions, but I don’t mean to sound rude when I say I don’t want to talk about it,” sophomore Lucy Huddart said.

The school community as well as other rugby teams in the league have done their best to make sure the girls are well.

“The Cocobeni [Confections] cupcake company even sent us a box of cupcakes,” Philbin said. “It’s insane; I’ve had a bunch of students bring me cards and they’re not even my players.”

After receiving a kind message from a fellow team, the players and coaches were touched.

“Needham sent us a video [showing] that they have our support and everyone started crying.” Huddart said.

Despite their hardships, the team is looking forward to moving on.

“The team doesn’t want anyone to think that this situation has weakened us. We’re as strong as ever; we’re just getting back on track after a little rough start,” Huddart said.

A major concern of the team’s is whether they will have enough uninjured players to continue the season.

“We have a few people who will be out for a little while longer and we have a few people who didn’t sustain any injuries, so we cancelled our game so we have two weeks of recovery,” Philbin said.

After a two week break they began practicing again.

“We need fifteen to play but we have fourteen,” Philbin said. “I think everyone is slowly healing; they know that there is a lot of support.”

As defending five time state champions, another struggle the team faces is living up to expectations of previous years.

“The really hard thing is that everyone will expect us to win the state championships. A lot of the girls are thinking ‘What if we don’t win again?’ [and] I try to remind them that the important thing is that we recover from this,” Philbin said.

Senior captain Rachel White is hoping to focus the team’s positive energy on achieving their state championship goals.

“In the past everyone has been able to go state championships, where now they are only taking four teams,” White said. “We’ve never had to worry about getting into the state championships, but now we have to worry about securing a spot.”

Another new change this season brought was the elimination of the Junior Varsity (JV) team.

“In the past we’ve had to make a JV and a Varsity team, under one Varsity team,” White said. “This year we decided in order to focus more and become a more serious and driven team, it would be in our best interest to cut it down to a thirty person team.”

Although they transitioned to one new team, the coaches didn’t have to make any cuts.

“Each year less and less people try out, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but we were thankful this year that we didn’t have to make any cuts.” White said. “In rugby all the players do such different things, but each one is essential to winning and doing well and working together as a team.”