COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The University of Texas Women’s Rugby Club is the first women’s team to qualify for the 2013 USA Rugby College 7s National Championship.
The Longhorns finished a perfect 3-0 on the day against fellow in-state rivals Texas A&M, Sam Houston State and TCU. Do not let the undefeated performance fool you – UT had to dig deep in order to earn a spot in this year’s National Championship.
Sam Houston St. played a back and forth game against Texas, but ultimately dropped the hotly-contested match to the eventual champs. However, the most thrilling match of the afternoon involved the Aggies and the Longhorns. A&M, who won its other two matches, forced overtime against Texas.
After 14 minutes of play, the score was locked at 14 apiece between the Aggies and the Longhorns. A&M struck first in the overtime, but failed to increase the lead after a missed conversion. Natalie Kennedy, who also had a stellar defensive performance in all three matches, tied the match with a try of her own. Senior fly half Sophie Rondan all but sealed the conference championship by splitting the uprights on her conversion attempt.
The victorious Longhorns played without both captains Wendy Sun and Julia Fortkort due to injuries. UT Head Coach Traci Schmidtke believes it was her club’s experience that guided them to the Southwestern 7s victory.
“We are the only team in Texas that has gone to the USA 7s tournament for three years in a row,” Schimdtke said. “I think the girls are really starting to learn the style of sevens compared to 15s. They’re able to spread the field more and attack on the corners and their support is really improving.”
The University of Texas will undoubtedly have the fire power to make a run at the College Nationals in Greensboro as both Sun and Fortkort, each an All-American, will be back from injury.