The fast-paced excitement of sevens is a natural companion to the winter semester at University of Michigan. The sevens season typically brings with it unique challenges: integrating a crop of rookies that has either no rugby experience or only played fifteens, elevated fitness needs yet, limited outdoor practice time, as well as far fewer competitions than the fall season. This year, UMWRFC has overcome a new obstacle. The indoor practice facility that the team has access to for training during snowy conditions has been reduced to only 60 yards of field, instead of the full field that could be used for game-like practices and for hosting competitions. Nevertheless, UMWRFC persists.
The season began on March 24th, when the Wolverines travelled to Grand Rapids for a friendly round of sevens against Davenport University. Michigan brought three sides to welcome Davenport to their first DI season. These were hard-fought matches to provide UMWRFC with an intense introduction to the 2018 season. While Michigan did not take home a win, the C side ensured that UMWRFC did not leave scoreless. Several Wolverines were wearing a Michigan jersey for the first time on a sevens pitch! On Michigan’s side, the newer players had a strong showing. At the same time, Davenport’s squad is led by a solid group of seniors and grad students, including six All-Americans, notably Danielle Ordway, who touched down quite a few of tries of the tries against Michigan.
Following Davenport, the team has three competitions left in the regular season. This Saturday (3/31), the Wolverines will travel to Kent State University. The last time that the Wolverines clashed against the Golden Flashes was in October of 2015, where KSU bested Michigan 24 to 14. This matchup is a friendly one, and it will be interesting to see how the two teams have grown since their last competition.
Wolverine Sevens, the annual collegiate women’s sevens tournament hosted by UMWRFC, takes place on April 7th. Michigan eagerly anticipates welcoming Michigan State, Notre Dame, Indiana, Purdue, and Penn State to Mitchell Field. The competition will be fierce; the winning team at Wolverine Sevens will be offered a bid to Nationals. Throughout the season, UMWRFC is preparing to return to the USA Rugby College 7s National Championships, held in Glendale, CO, from May 18th to 20th. In 2017, UMWRFC travelled to Nationals to earn 7th, and the team is keen on competing at the national level again this year.
In the last competition of regular season, UMWRFC is set to play Grand Valley State University (4/14). This game against GVSU will be the last Michigan rugby game in Michigan for the graduating seniors on the team. This bittersweet match will surely be followed by camaraderie between the two teams; GVSU is the team that introduced the Wolverines to the tradition of naming a “Player of the Match,” which has fostered a positive social relationship between the two squads.
As always, UMWRFC is as busy on the pitch as they are off of it. Alumnae Relations Chair, Julia Ebben (‘21), is beginning a regular social event for current players and alums to bond and build relationships. This event debuted last Tuesday evening at Good Time Charley’s, and will run until the summer months. Fundraising Chair, Jade DeLong (‘21), has arranged for a fundraiser to take place at NYPD on April 10th. From 2-10PM, eat at NYPD and mention UMWRFC in order to help the team earn money!