UNC Women’s Rugby was established as a club sport in 1993 by Tasha Heeler and Caroline Heller. Initial budget constraints were overcome when it was discovered that a team had briefly existed in the 80s, leaving behind enough funds to redeclare a club. Recruitment led to a core team of about 15 players, which expanded in the spring season to a roster of 20-25 women. Playing for the state championship in their first year, the founding members began a tradition of excellence that continues to this day.
UNC has been awarded the state championship in 2003-2006 and 2009-10. The team has progressed to the South regional tournament many times, coming in second place in 2004 and winning in 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2009-2011 in order to move on to the national Division I tournament.
In 2003, UNC lost in the national round of 16 to UC San Diego and won the consolation game against Navy.
In 2005, the team lost in the sweet 16 to Princeton and won the consolation game against Brown.
In 2006, UNC progressed for the first time to the Elite Eight, winning against Princeton in the round of 16 and losing to Stanford.
In 2009, UNC lost to Brown in the round of 16, and beat Texas A&M in the consolation match.
In 2010, UNC again lost to Brown in the Sweet 16 and won the consolation game against the University of Colorado.
In 2011, the team progressed to the Elite Eight for the second time, beating UC San Diego in the first round before losing to Army.
In 2012, the team lost to Brown (again) this time in the sweet 16.
In 2014, the team made elite 8 by beating Harvard then losing to AIC in the round of 8.
In 2015, the team beat UCF in Sweet 16, then lost by one point to Life in the final seconds in the elite 8.
In 2016, the team beat UCF in the elite 8 and lost to UVA in the Final Four, marking the first time the team has made it to the Final Four.