Wheeling Women’s Rugby team releases inaugural schedule

WHEELING. — In 2024, the Wheeling University Women’s Rugby team will embark on their first varsity season in program history under Head Coach Ken Pape. On Thursday, the team released their inaugural 15’s Schedule, featuring a nine-game slate with five home matches scheduled at Bishop Schmitt Field. The Cardinals look to hit the ground running and make a run at the National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) National Playoffs in their first season as a program.

On May 2nd, Pape was announced as the first Head Women’s Rugby coach in program history after spending the previous four seasons at Lander University. He is excited to build a winning culture with the Wheeling Women’s Rugby program, bringing what he calls “The Rugby Purge” to Bishop Schmitt Field.

“We are going to call it the Rugby Purge,” said Pape. “That’s going to be our way of life here. A Lot of people aren’t giving us credit just yet and that’s fine because I love being the underdog. That first practice we are going to be tackling day one and it’s going to get rough. And then, game one I feel bad for our opponent because we are going to come out and the Rugby Purge is real.”

The first varsity match in program history will be played on August 30th, when the team hits the road to face Ohio State University in their first-ever National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) match. After hitting the road, Wheeling Women’s Rugby will have the benefit of playing a long homestand, with each of their next four games coming at Bishop Schmitt Field. The team’s first varsity home match will come on September 7th when they hosts Emory & Henry. It will be the fans’ first time seeing the team in action as they play the first of five home games during the fall season. Also during the four-game homestand, the Cardinals will welcome in the first of four straight Division I opponents when The University of Cincinnati comes in on September 14th. Week four sees College Rugby Association of America (CRAA) opponent Pitt travel to Wheeling on September 21st, and September wraps up with an NCR non-conference game against Ohio University on September 29th when the team plays their Homecoming & Family Weekend matchup.

October opens with the team’s first-ever road contest as they travel to nearby Pitt on October 5th for the team’s first conference NCR game. They come back home the following week for their final regular season home contest when they host Kent State on October 12th, before finishing the year with back-to-back road matches. They begin the year-end road trip against Life University on October 28th, and round out the season with a rematch against Walsh University on November 2nd. They will then await to see their postseason fate, with the NCR Regional Playoffs running November 15th — 17th, followed by the NCR National Championships December 7th — 8th. Playing an Independent schedule for the 2024 season allows the team to see a range of talent and test themselves as they try and qualify for the National Tournament.

The 2024 Wheeling University Women’s Rugby team will embark on their inaugural season on Saturday, September 7th, when the team hosts Emory & Henry College at Bishop Schmitt Field.


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