The Williams Women’s Rugby Football Club took the 1998 Beantown Rugby Tournament by storm this weekend, handily defeating every opposing team. The honed skills of returning players and the promising ambition of new rookies led to a fantastic weekend of quality rugby, kicking off the WWRFC’s fall season in fine form.
The rugby club’s first game of the weekend pitted them against Mt. Holyoke. Despite the early hour of the game and the intimidating appearance of their opponents, the Lady White Dawgs trounced Mt. Holyoke. The line quickly made its presence felt, sending passes along it that the opposition had no chance of defending.
A fantastic run by the line with Natalie Marchant ’01 quickly dishing the ball to Kamille Richards ’00 resulted in the first of Richards’ tries for the day. More points were added by a successful conversion kick by Arlene Spooner ’99. Forceful rucks and relentless tackling, particularly by Emily Eakin ’99, kept Mt. Holyoke at bay. Excellent lineouts abounded, as Jennifer Hurley ’99 ( lifted by Rebecca Rehm ’00 and Devon DiClerico ’01) continually stole the ball from Mt. Holyoke. A particularly pretty steal initiated an equally pretty run by the line, with Laura Jacobs ’99 racking up her first of multiple tries in the tournament.
Before Mt. Holyoke could even recover from the last try, Jacobs scored yet another try after a huge run, raising the lead to 19-0 after Spooner successfully made the conversion kick. Tough play continued, with successful scrumdowns and lineout steals by Erin Dempsey ’00 repeatedly getting the ball out to Beth Friedman ’00. Friedman’s consistent quick thinking led the team throughout the game. Scrum-line cooperation led to two more tries, as both scrummie Christine Chan ’99, and linie Richards racked up tries before the half.
The Lady White Dawgs did not let up their intensity during the second half, with aggressive moves by Friedman and tackles by Eakin putting Mt. Holyoke in its place. Richards left everyone in the dust for two more tries, capping off the 41-0 rout.
After a lengthy break, the Lady White Dawgs faced MIT. The addition of talented new rookies added more fire to the already red hot Williams women. Caitlin Rahl ’02 made a stellar debut as a linie with aggressive runs and hard hitting tackles, before Clare Newman ’02 came in and made an equally impressive rookie debut. Roshni David ’00 was a fearsome tackler, repeatedly taking down MIT players. The game remained scoreless throughout the first half.
The second half was controlled by Williams, as both the line and the scrum stepped up the intensity and MIT could not keep up. Karen Allen ’01 led the line with her aggressive moves, tackling and breaking through defenders time and time again. Rookie scrummies played like experts, with Anna MacIntosh ’02 continually coming up with the ball out of rucks, aided by the strong support of Chuckie Lord ’02 and Lisa Stern ’02. Allen scored the first try of the game.
Lizzie Jacobs ’01 kept up the family name with her consistent hooking, even in frustrating situations. The line just never stopped, as powerhouse kicks by Julia Cianfarini ’00, aggressive tackles by Marchant, and agile runs by Lynn Lim ’00 added to the fire. A final run by Richards, Marchant, and Lim resulted in a second scrummie try of the day, with Tracy Saylor ’99 lunging over the try line to make the final score of the game 17-5.
The two wins on Saturday sent the Lady White Dawgs to the Division II finals on Sunday against Wesleyan, in one of the most beautifully played rugby games for the WWRFC. The line and scrum worked perfectly together, playing what Williams coach Gina Coleman described as “textbook rugby.” Laura Jacobs produced the first try of the game, lunging over the try zone as the Wesleyan women attempted desperately to bring her down.
Immediately, Spooner received a kick, deftly sending it out to Jacobs, and then to Richards, whose lightning speed left five Wesleyan defenders in her wake, scoring another try. Spooner’s completed conversion gave the WWRFC a large lead right off, at 12-0. The scrummies stepped up, setting up huge rucks and strong scrumdowns by the book.
The lineouts were nearly faultless, as Rehm and Seargant Donovan-Smith ’99 lifted Hurley sky high, as she won every lineout. Tackling was also incredible, as Laura Moberg ’99 and Maureen Brudzinski ’99 went after every Wesleyan woman who dared try to enter their side of the pitch.
A beautiful example of scrum-line togetherness followed, as Williams won a scrumdown, getting the ball out to the line of Richards to Jacobs to Moberg. The ball was then sent to Spooner who completed a huge run into the try zone, making the score 17-0. Somehow the team repeated this beautiful teamwork shortly thereafter, with Spooner racking up her second try of the game, upping the score to 22-0. One more try was scored before the half, as strong ruck after strong ruck, (set up by Donovan-Smith and Saylor) led to another try by Richards, leaving the score at 29-0 at the half.
The fire still burned strong in the second half as the scrum continually won scrumdown, lineouts, and rucks. Richards scored yet another try to the dismay of Wesleyan.
Before Wesleyan could wonder who Richards was and if she might consider transferring there, she scored one more try, after another White Dawg win off of a lineout. The successful conversion kick by Spooner left the final score, a huge one at that, at 41-0.
Thus, the White Dawgs swept the Beantown Tournament, placing first in Division II after a stellar weekend of rugby, showcasing the bright future of the Lady White Dawgs for the rest of the fall 1998 season.