Spring 2014 Women’s Season Recap

Charles River Women’s Rugby celebrated unprecedented success this spring, capturing the #3 spot in Northeast Rugby Union DII and earning their first ever USA Rugby regional playoff spot. Soon after, the Lady Rats shocked at the annual NERFU tournament, taking 2nd place in the Division I bracket. With attendance surging and an energetic new coaching staff at the helm, River is rolling.

In this, its ninth year, the Charles River Women’s Rugby Football Club reached unprecedented success. Balancing a veteran core with an energetic and talented rookie presence, the Lady Rats qualified for the USA Rugby Women’s Division II playoffs for the first time in the club’s history. The ladies of Chuck River also stunned at the annual New England Rugby Football Union (NERFU) tournament, taking 2nd place in the Division I bracket despite being a DII team and the bottom seed. River also welcomed a new coaching staff of familiar faces; head coach Brian Lottridge was joined by founding Lady Rat Alex Schmidt, with alumnae Lisa Natalicchio and Kara McAuliffe adding valuable support in the pack. As the larger Charles River Rugby Club celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, the women’s side has never been stronger.

River continued to adjust to a dynamic lineup this season as many new faces surfaced and club attendance surged to a record high. Sporting fresh new jerseys designed by River’s own Alec “Ox” Tolivaisa, the Lady Rats took the pitch in April for a series of spring friendlies, splitting the 4-match set against Boston, Worcester, Hartford and North Shore. After winning a postponed fall league match against Brooklyn, the Rats were awarded the #3 seed in the Northeast bracket of the USA Rugby playoffs—marking the first time the Lady Rats have qualified, as only DII and DI brackets exist on the women’s side. On May 3rd and 4th, the orange and green traveled to Burlington, who hosted the general union round for the Northeast. Pitted against the home team, River played a very strong match but lost to Burlington (#2), who made a second-half comeback. Burlington went on to lose to Beantown (#1) in the finals.

In the final week of the season, the Rats traveled to Newport for the annual NERFU tournament. With NRU winners Boston (DI) and Beantown B (DII) away at USA Rugby semi-finals, the Rats were placed as the bottom seed of the Division I bracket with Burlington, Albany, and Providence Women’s Rugby. Given a chance to avenge their playoff loss in the first match, the Rats battled to a brilliant 8-5 squeaker against a powerful Burlington club. Buoyed from the win and surging, the Rats then earned a stunning upset against the DI Albany Knickerbockers, turning quite a few heads and gaining a reputation as an upstart club at NERFU. In the third match of the day, River fell to Providence, but was extremely pleased with the 2-1 outcome that would land them into the tournament championship. In the cup match the next day, River played aggressively and with heart, but was outdueled by a physical Providence team. They finished, though, as the only club who had scored on Providence all weekend. Despite the loss, the Rats celebrated a wildly successful tournament, having taken an unlikely 2nd place in Pool A. President Whitney McCoy accepted the Division I runner-up plate, towed to the center of a crowd of bystanders in the now-famous Rat Wagon.

The Rats are now celebrating a well-deserved off-season, but will be back in action throughout the summer. The CRWRFC will attend Cape Cod 7s, Gate City 7s and Acton 10s, and many Rats will journey to the 41st Can-Am Rugby Tournament (Lake Placid/Saranac NY) this summer as well. When not on the pitch, you can find Rat Captains Jehanne Junguenet and Jamie Carillo leading the CRWRFC to social victory at various pubs. We hope to see you there. UP RIVER!