The Ferris women’s rugby team won the 16th Annual Snowball Tournament in Kalamazoo on Feb. 13 in commanding fashion.
Unlike traditional rugby matches, the contests were played on fields 30 yards long instead of 100 yards and played with 10 people instead of 15. The tournament was set up in a bracket style and each team was guaranteed to play at least three games.
Sophomore Andrea Dooley, a television production major from Grandville, said the Bulldogs were the only team to go 4-0 throughout the tournament. The Bulldogs defeated Wayne State, Saginaw Valley State, Central Michigan and Western Michigan.
Ferris shut out Western Michigan University in the championship game of the women’s collegiate division. Wayne State and Saginaw Valley each scored once on Ferris, while Central Michigan and Western Michigan failed to score.
The Bulldogs began training the week after classes resumed and practiced three days per week. Dooley said when they got to the tournament, they could tell none of the other teams had really started training.
Lindsey Orkisz, a junior in the construction management and civil engineering programs, said the team was not very good last season and won only two games. Brittany O’Dell, a sophomore in the advertising program, is in her second season with the team.
“We had a lot of new girls last year who didn’t know how to play so there was a lot of teaching,” said O’Dell.
This season, the team has 25 members and the players are thankful they have substitutes because last year they had none. Orkisz said the team struggled last year in part because each team member had to play the whole game.
The team’s primary season is in the fall and the spring portion of the season serves as training time. Each collegiate team is in a league called a union and Ferris plays against schools such as Michigan, Michigan State, Grand Valley State, Wayne State, Saginaw Valley State and Bowling Green State.
The Bulldogs play their home games on the intramural fields. Dooley said the team is responsible for lining the field and putting up the posts. The weather also impacts the rugby season and limits the number of games the team can play.
“We’ll probably only have one or two home games this year because they won’t let us use the field unless it’s thawed six feet down,” said Dooley.
Orkisz said the team is much closer this year and that makes it fun. O’Dell said rugby is a very respectful game and the players treat one another with respect. The players enjoy the camaraderie and friendship of the sport.
“It’s not like other sports because we hang out and eat pizza with the other team after the game,” said O’Dell.
The Bulldogs will compete in the annual “Nash Bash” tournament in Nashville, Tenn. on March 27-28.