Women’s rugby shines

With a convincing 22-0 A-side victory followed by an equally solid 30-0 win for the B-side, the Women’s Rugby club opened their spring season Saturday by trouncing UMass. It was a much-needed spark for the team which faces a crucial contest Tuesday against Brown to defend their berth in Division I.

Saturday’s games were characterized by spectacular unity among both line and scrum as a brand-new lineup played together for the first time. Led by captain Emily Eakin ’99, the Williams line executed play after play with unprecedented unity and flow. Clutch tackling of some rather corpulent competitors by Laura Moberg ’99 and determined, opposition-eluding, breakaway runs by Jess Green ’98 and Karen Allen ’01 allowed the Williams line to dominate UMass. Perfect execution of the team’s goal-line drill resulted in the first try of the game by Arlene Spooner ’99.

Cohesion among the Williams scrum manifested itself in countless scrumdowns won, while rookie eight-man Erin Dempsey ’01 stole UMass lineouts time after time to give Williams possession. Scoring her first try of the season, Jenny Lyons ’00 burst through the hapless UMass pack, destroyed anyone unfortunate enough to cross her path.

Minutes later, the lightning-quick Maureen Brudzinski ’99 wove her way through the opposition to score Williams’ third try of the afternoon. The ensuing conversion by Spooner left the score 17-0. Solid tackling by Christine Chan ’99 and unflagging perseverance and teamwork by Eakin and Moberg set up the final try, a squib-kicking, scrappy scrummie try scored by the sizzling second-row, Anna Rettig ’98.

The tide of victory flowed on into the B-side game as another commanding performance by the White Dawgs ensued, much to the chagrin of the UMass girls. In her second match of the afternoon, Dempsey continued to pilfer passes from the UMass lineouts supported by powerhouse props Sargent Donovan-Smith ’99 and Yana Dadiomova ’00.

Working with an exceptionally quick-moving and quick-thinking young line, Allen, also in her second round of competition, led the White Dawgs up the pitch. Elyse Vacarro ’99 opened the B-side’s scoring field day early, eluding would-be-tacklers and breaking into the try zone to make it 5-0, Williams.

Soon after, set up by beautiful breakaway by Anju Lunia ’01, Allen scored. Fantastic field sense in the case of rookie Natalie Marchant ’01, who promises to develop into a dangerous weapon for the B-side offense, enabled her to score. Chan, also in her second game, laid waste to the UMass scrum with her tackling prowess and also had a couple of tries to boot. Rounding off the scoring machine that was the Williams B-side was Kamille Richards ’00 whose speed and strength powered her past the UMass defense.

Tuesday afternoon, the team takes on Brown at UMass in a challenge match, with the winner securing a Division I berth for next fall. “It is so encouraging to have this win under our belt,” said scrum captain Tracy Saylor ’99. “I think that with the momentum raised by this win, we have a good chance of defeating Brown on Tuesday.”

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