With the first tournament of the season scheduled for Saturday, the Idaho womenâ€™s club rugby program battled through a lack of recruits to form a team in time for the spring season.
Junior MÃ³nic Munoz said the Black Widows have seen improvement every day in practice.
â€œOur coach has been emphasizing self-decision making on the field rather than the coach yelling on the sidelines what to do,â€ Munoz said. â€œAnd to be able to make decisions on your own and have a plan â€˜Aâ€™ and a plan â€˜Bâ€™ kind of thing.â€
While the Black Widows have seen progress on the field, Munoz said the team continually struggles to find enough members to construct a full team roster.
With the first tournament approaching this weekend, the team was able to find 15 players â€” the exact amount required on the field during play. Munoz said the Black Widows combined with another team for the Fools Fest tournament Saturday in Spokane, due to Idahoâ€™s minimum roster requirements.
The junior said communication would be a key aspect for the team during tournament play.
â€œWeâ€™re just going to have to work together this weekend, a lot,â€ Munoz said.
While the combination of two teams may seem an oddity in other sports, Munoz said it occurs regularly in rugby.
â€œMeshing with another team is kind of the thing in rugby,â€ Munoz said. â€œIf youâ€™re on break, and another team needs girls, theyâ€™ll kind of just ask anyone who wants to play, and youâ€™ll put on their jersey and play for them.â€
Munoz said versatility would be important for the Black Widows during the weekend.
â€œYou may have your set position on your team,â€ Munoz said. â€œBut if they need someone then you have to be open to play other positions.â€
Munoz said in addition to Fools Fest, the team is looking forward to the Widow Ball, a longstanding tradition with the program.
â€œIn the past, the Black Widows have had much bigger teams, so they were able to play against each other in prom dresses,â€ Munoz said.
Despite the tradition, Munoz said the Idaho womenâ€™s rugby team has been unable to continue the eventÂ in previous years.
â€œWeâ€™re trying to bring it back,â€ Munoz said. â€œWe canâ€™t do it against each other, so weâ€™re going to do it against Spokane. Weâ€™ve talked to Spokane and because some of them have played with the Black Widows, theyâ€™re OK with doing it.â€
Idaho will compete in the Fools Fest tournament Saturday. The team will then host the Widow Ball April 23 at Guy Wicks Field.
Mihaela Karst can be reached at email@example.com