Women’s rugby faces Penn State for a spot in the national title championship game

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Last time around, the Cougars proved their integrity. This time they have no reservations, they are in it to win.

The BYU Women’s rugby team will face Penn State University’s Lady Ruggers at Steuber Rugby Stadium on the Stanford Campus Friday May 11 at 3 p.m. MST to advance to the championship game.

This game has been highly anticipated by the Cougars since the team forfeited the last game against Penn State because it was scheduled for a Sunday.

“We have been waiting to play Penn State for three years,” team captain Sam Wright said. “This is going to be a tougher game mentally than anything else.”

Emotions are soaring, but not just because they are playing one of the best teams in the nation. The team is out to earn their first national title, which Penn State’s Lady Ruggers have won 3 out of the last 4 years.

“You hear a lot about Penn State because they have a history of being so strong,” wing Keelia Harker-MaClennan said. “We think highly of them, but we also think highly of ourselves, so it’s going to be good for us to finally test out our ability against them.”

The Lady Ruggers’ program was established in 1991. They won their first national championship in 1997 and have won five more since. They have been runner up to the title a total of nine times.

“They come here every year. They are more experienced than we are in that regard,” Head Coach Tom Waqa said. “But we’ve prepared well and think we have a good shot this year.”

The Cougars have seen their team improve throughout the years at the playoffs. Four years ago the Cougars made it to the sweet sixteen. The year after that they made it to the elite eight where they forfeited to Penn State. The following year they made it to the final four. This year they are back in the final four and they trust their coach to lead them to victory.

“Every year, our team does a little better than the one before,” Wright said. “I’ve been here for four years and have come to trust our coach and that he knows what he’s doing.”

If the Cougars win this game, they will be playing for the championship title at Steuber Rugby Stadium on the Stanford Campus Saturday May 12 at 4 p.m.

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