Photo: Belmont’s Girls’ Rugby Head Coach Kate McCabe.
It’s official: the Belmont High School Girls’ Rugby squad play for the first-ever High School state title after going undefeated through rugby’s inaugural season as a varsity sport in Massachusetts.
The 3-0-1 Marauders will take on Algonquin Regional High School (2-1-1) in the next two weeks at a neutral site, according to Jim Davis, Belmont’s athletic director who sits on the sport’s governing board for the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association which oversees high school athletics.
“The girls’ set the goals at the beginning of the season,” said Belmont’s Head Coach Kate McCabe, who started the squad three years ago with a handful of girls, many who are still playing.
“[The coaches] asked them what they wanted to do and they said we better make state championship. And they came out for each game ready to play,” said McCabe, who is a social studies teacher at the school.
Belmont and Algonquin – which won the state championship as a club side in 2014 and 2015 – drew 12-12 at Harris Field (in front of more than 100 spectators) in early May before Belmont scored four tries in the second half against the host T-Hawks to win 20-5 last week.
Belmont twice defeated the only other team to put out a varsity squad, Lincoln-Sudbury, 35-0 and 10-5.
McCabe, who started for four years at Boston University and was on the Boston Women’s Rugby Club before entering coaching, said she’s not just proud of her team for making the state final, “I’m also really proud for women’s rugby. It’s the first year under the MIAA … for both boys and girls and to see so many people come out to support us is very impressive.”
“We say at the end of practice and games, it’s not perfect, we make mistakes. We just asked them to come out and play rugby, and play for each other which they have every time they took the pitch,” said McCabe.