Rhinos Look Forward to Homecoming Weekend Match

Tyler Sloan, Editor in Chief

Oberlin College’s women and trans*-Inclusive rugby team looks to improve its record this season after losing 12 of its seniors last spring. The Rhinos are coming off of a 54–19 loss last weekend to the University of Findlay, but that has not discouraged the team.

The first half of the game proved difficult, but the Rhinos managed to turn things around later in the game with three tries and three conversions coming from a mix of new and veteran players. Scores came from rookie junior Evelyn Kalafus-Mastenbrook and seasoned players junior Evan Delano and senior Alyssa Civian, all in the second half.

The Rhinos’ roster this season boasts 28 players, a significant increase from last fall when the team did not have enough players to field a full team; fifteen members of the Rhinos are new players.

Senior Rebecca Henderson has been a member of the Rhinos since her sophomore year, and noted that there has been a significant change of team energy with the influx of new players.

“There has definitely been an improvement from last season. We have gotten a lot of new players that are so excited about playing and learning, so the spirit of the team is better than it’s ever been,” she said.

According to Kalafus-Mastenbrook, the current team goal is to take everything on a game-by-game basis. Players are testing a variety of positions to learn how to floor all of the new players.

The team’s first match of the season was on Sept. 26 against Kenyon College. The game resulted in a loss, but that was not the focus of senior leader Alyssa Civian.

“More than half the players in [the] match versus Kenyon were playing their very first game of rugby. Our loss taught us what ‘real rugby’ is like in a way that practice never could,” Civian said.

This seems to be the general attitude of the team this year. Though this is only her first year on the Rhinos, Kalafus-Mastenbrook said that out of the different club sports teams she has played for, rugby definitely has the strongest sense of camaraderie.

“It’s more of a family than any other club team I have been on,” she said. “There is a lot of good energy and excitement about this season.”

During the team’s season, the Rhinos face new competition every weekend. The self-coached team practices four times a week with games every Saturday. However, the Rhinos spend a lot of time together outside of mandated practices.

This Saturday, Oct. 5, the Rhinos look forward to playing in their third match of the season against the Hiram College Terriers at 11 a.m as part of the Homecoming Weekend. The match will take place at North Fields with a halftime performance by the Oberlin College Marching Band.