All-Girls Rugby Team a Hit in Chillicothe

IVC Girls Hoping Sport Expands Locally

Chillicothe, Ill. - It's not unusual to see a rugby match in central Illinois. It is unusual if all the players are girls.

"It definitely catches people off guard when people hear you play rugby," said Libby Allison, a junior at IVC High School. "They are shocked."

They are Cailini, which is Irish for girl. And the club team based in Chillicothe is comprised mainly of IVC students.

It is the only all-girl rugby team between Chicago and St. Louis. No pads, no fear, no reservations.

"I think it's super-empowering," said IVC junior Sophie Vojta. "It's really good for young girls' self-esteem and confidence to know strong and femine aren't opposites. You can be both."

Like many of these girls, Vojta was introduced to the sport by an older brother.

All of the girls want to see the sport grow so they aren't a one-of-a-kind team in the middle of the state that has to drive three hours to play a match.

"It's been so fun to watch grow continuously and exponentially," said Allison. "It's really taken off."

Cailini will host a 'Rugby for Research' event Saturday at the rugby pitch in Chillicothe, behind the Chillicothe Education Center. There are games at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m.. 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Said senior Emily Terpstra: "You find yourself in this sport. No matter what size you are, of what sports you've played before, you can come and play rugby. It's a cool sport to come together with the other girls and play."

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