With only two games left in their season, a 3-0 record and a commanding five-point lead in the New York State Western Division II league standings, the Geneseo women's rugby club is looking at a landmark year.
Senior co-captain Geni Beninati, who shares captain duties with fellow senior Kaitlen Adams, said this year's team is "playing at the highest level of rugby in my time on the team." The team opened the season with a 29-20 win over Buffalo State, followed by a 41-10 drumming of Canisius College.
Beninati said that the latest win over Fredonia was the highlight of the season so far, as it marked the first victory over Fredonia in recent memory of the team. She added that the reason for the win was that the team "played [their] hearts out until the last minute."
Under the leadership of volunteer coach and Geneseo alumnus Colin Partridge and club president senior Jessica Friedman, the team is preparing for their final two games of the regular season against LeMoyne College and SUNY Cortland, arguably the toughest competition of the season.
After the regular season comes the New York State Playoffs, in which the women are in good position to better their 2006 semifinal appearance. Given their success so far, the team is looking to move up to Division I play next year.
Beninati said she credits the team's success to the close bond developed between its 25 members. This year's team is made up of mostly upperclassmen who bring experience and chemistry to the field after years of playing together.
Many of the girls live together and the team has library hours to help each other with schoolwork. This level of team unity, along with athleticism and new players who are more familiar with rugby due to its increasing popularity, has resulted in one of the most successful seasons in the team's history.
One such talented new player is freshman Liz Felix, who took home MVP honors after the team's Sept. 20 win over Buffalo State.
The Lady Warthogs benefit from sponsorship by the National Guard, which supplies the team with uniforms and equipment. Geneseo was chosen for sponsorship through an application and selection process.
Because women's rugby is a club sport, no tryouts are held for the team and anyone can participate. A 15-player A-side match is played for league standings, which is followed by a B-side match.
The team competes in the Western New York State Rugby Conference and practices Monday through Friday from 5-7 p.m. on Onondaga Field during the fall season.u
Geneseo plays its final home game of the season on Oct. 17 at 11 a.m. against LeMoyne, which is currently third in the standings, and closes out the season against second-place Cortland on Oct. 24.