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Intramural Spotlight: The Virtuous Women

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Courtesy of the Virtuous Women
The Virtuous Women are an iconic presence on the Villanova sport courts.

Outfitted in hot pink t-shirts and a passion for sport, the Virtuous Women are a force to be reckoned with at Villanova Intramural games. Infamous for its ability to amuse the referees, intramural officials and even its opponents, this team has become a legend on the Villanova sport courts.

The Virtuous Women’s roster is stacked, made up of juniors Ryenn Engles, Kiely Fleming, Ava Gjertsen, Tara Ford, Izzy Jacowleff, Adrian Williams, Meghan Sarlund, Emily Duncan, Annie Snyder, Ava Gallo, Maddy Murray, Kerri Giambruno, Tessa Craig, Eva Ricciardi, Hannah Sweeney and Emily Schoonover.

Engles discussed how the Virtuous Women were founded.

“Ava, Kiely and I decided that we wanted to start up an intramural team to form deeper connections and make new memories with our friends,” Engles said.

In the process of forming this team, the creation of the name was a momentous event for the team members. Gjertsen explained how the name Virtuous Women came about.

“We were dreading coming up with a name because of the pressure of knowing it had to be iconic and historic,” Gjertsen said. “Then, someone, and to this day we don’t remember who, said ‘What about Virtuous Women?’ and we knew at that moment we made history.”

The Virtuous Women have participated in a variety of sports. Snyder discussed many different intramurals in which her team competes.

“We currently compete in intramural dodgeball, basketball and soccer, even though most people know us for our historic basketball season,” Snyder said. “We actually were the unofficial winners of the women’s dodgeball division (because we were the only team in the division), which was definitely a major accomplishment for the team.”

This team’s iconic presence on this campus took flight following a wardrobe change.

“The team really became serious when we decided to invest in team jerseys,” Ford said. “This was when we knew the Virtuous Women [was] going to have a presence within the intramural world at Villanova. We all feel that these hot pink uniforms truly encapsulate the energy that we as a team contain. You just can’t miss us.”

Additionally, the Virtuous Women have accumulated a social media presence. Fleming described the origins of the Virtuous Women’s Instagram account.

“Our first basketball game was early on a cold February morning,” Fleming said. “We were anxious and tired, and the vibes were low. I remember thinking at least we look cute in our amazing neon pink t-shirts. I started taking photos of us warming up and the idea clicked in my mind. Our shirts were so iconic, and I knew we needed a bigger platform to really confirm this iconic status. Later that day, I posted the results of our games and soon we had our friends and families liking and commenting. It made all of us happy because it had people connecting and cheering us on.”

The Virtuous Women use this sense of empowerment to guide its games. Gjersten discussed their perseverance during the Virtuous Women’s first dodgeball game.

“We got put in the co-ed league and we were playing against a fraternity,” Gjertsen said. “We thought maybe they would take it easy on us, but they actually showed no mercy. We were all standing against the wall of the gym, frozen in fear, as dodgeballs were being pelted at us. Some of us heroically made our way to the balls in the middle of the court and we were able to knock some of our opponents out. In hindsight, I’m glad they put their all into the game because the fear ultimately brought us closer and made us a better team.”

Not only do the Virtuous Women embrace hardship, but their ability to amuse the opponents is one of its most notable feats.

“We came up with a groundbreaking play called ‘The Princess Diana,’” Fleming said. “The point guard yells Princess Diana and Ryenn gets on the floor and does the worm. It usually baffles the opponents and spectators, and it has worked a few times.”

Even in tough games, these women prevail. Jacowleff discussed a difficult match.

“Our hardest fought game was against AGD in basketball,” Jacowleff said. “It was our only win of the season (or any season), and we did it with grace.”

Following this historic win, the Virtuous Women made it to the playoffs.

“Unfortunately, we had to be mercy ruled, as we lost, 58-8,” Engles said. “We are currently the only team at Villanova University to ever lose by the 50-point mercy rule. We had this rule used against us not once, but twice. Now, some people may find this embarrassing, but we are proud to have made history in this way because it shows that we, as a team, never give up and fight until the very last whistle no matter how badly we are losing.”

However many battles they lose, the Virtuous Women keep their spirits high on the court. Sarlund discussed the philosophy of her team.

“We don’t sign up to win every game, but rather to hang out with our friends and have some good laughs,” Sarlund said.

At the end of the day, anyone can be a “Virtuous Woman” by instilling confidence in oneself and embracing the positive. To keep up with the team, follow @virtuouswomenbball on Instagram for more.

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Emma Cahill, Co-Culture Editor
One of two Co-Culture Editors of The Villanovan for 2023, Emma Cahill is a junior majoring in Political Science. During her time writing for The Villanovan, Emma has written articles on March Madness in New Orleans, the Kimmel Center’s production of Hamilton and has interviewed Sebastian Stan. When she is not writing, Emma can be found eating everything bagels at Holy Grounds, going for walks around campus, or at dance class.
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