To fully understand how historic the Brock women’s rugby team’s undefeated 2017/18 season is, you have to look back. Four years ago, in the 2014/15 season, the women didn’t earn a single win and finished the season with an 0-5 record. The following season, they finished with a record of 0-4-1, again, not a single win for the Badgers. In 2016/17 the women won two of their games and lost three. A 2-3 record isn’t wildly impressive, but for a team that had been struggling, it was monumental. The team finished this past season with a 4-0 record.
So what changed? How did the Badgers go from a team who couldn’t get a single win under their belts, to an undefeated team? How did they go from dead last, to the middle of the pack, to first in the conference?
The answer may lie in coaching. Stefanie Pavlovich was hired as the team was beginning their 2016/17 season. Pavlovich is a graduate of Brock University where she played four seasons, in this time she was named an OUA All-Star twice.
When Pavlovich joined the team, they were struggling. Things looked bleak for the team, certainly, a 0-5 record could not have been encouraging, a 0-4-1 record is an improvement, but only slightly. In Pavlovich’s first year, the team learned what it felt like to win. The Badgers lost the first three games of the 2016/17 season, but rallied to win the last two. This thirst for victory continued into the 2017/18 season where the women won four straight. It’s not as if the women got lucky and squeaked in either, the Badgers absolutely dominated. They played four games, against Waterloo, Trent, Laurier and Toronto. They won these games 82-0, 97-7, 98-10, and 15-7, respectively.
The team has already played a handful of pre-season games. On August 24, they defeated Trent 31-24. They also beat Western 20-10 in the pre-season.
The women have clearly kept up the momentum from the past two seasons and the expectations are high. We’ll have to see if they rise to the occasion or are crushed by the pressure that inevitably surrounds a winning team
They kick off their season on September 8 against Laurier’s at 7:15 p.m. Their first home game will be on Sept. 15 at 1:00 p.m. on the Varsity Rugby Field.