Relentless, dynamic, respectful: Tulane Rugby looks to continue dynasty

Julian Bombard, Staff Reporter

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Courtesy of Jess Mallindine.

The Tulane women’s club rugby team kicked off its season this past Saturday, looking to defend its national title. Since the club began competitive play in 2016, it has finished in either first or second place each year. On Saturday, the team picked up right where it left off with a 22-12 win over the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.

While many people may assume that such a successful team requires a strenuous tryout process or intensive practicing and training, the club instead cultivates an open and supportive environment, allowing nearly anyone to join.

Lindsay Voves, a junior who has been on the team since her freshman year, says most players had no prior rugby experience before joining the club. In fact, the team currently only has one member who played in high school.

Numerous players from the 2018 team graduated in May, leaving several vacancies in the starting lineup. This open-invitation policy has yielded several promising new players, and the team plans to start multiple freshman for the first time in years.

The team emphasizes comradery and bonding on and off the field, especially following a heartbreaking loss in the championship game two years ago. Some players even have tattoos of the team’s motto: relentless, dynamic, respectful.

Voves, who has one such tattoo, compared the team to a family. After tearing a ligament in her knee last season, Voves was amazed by the team’s unwavering support, from taking her to the hospital, to accompanying her though the entire rehabilitation process.

“Injuries are inevitable,” Voves said. “But we do a lot to make sure people stick with it and feel supported by the team.”

The club is coached by Jess Mallindine, who deals with the backs one of two basic rugby positions as well as the logistical side of the club. Kaitlin Joerger coaches the forwards, the other basic rugby position. Joerger has recently begun to incorporate jiu-jitsu into rugby training, adding an interdisciplinary approach to team.

Coming off of a victory in the season opener, the club will look to continue their winning ways this upcoming weekend when they travel to Chattanooga to take on UTC.