Women’s rugby second in nation

This past weekend, Williams rugby traveled to Fredricksburg, Virginia to compete in the Division II National tournament. The first team they faced was Bryn Mawr/ Haverford. Arlene Spooner ’99 took the kickoff, sending the ball flying deep into Bryn Mawr territory. Kamille Richards ’00 used her blazing speed to tie the ball up in a maul before Bryn Mawr could return the kick. The result was a Bryn Mawr line-out, but the jumping ability of Erin Dempsey ’01 allowed Williams to steal it.

The Williams line used quick passes to get the ball to the outside, where Spooner set a ruck that led to a penalty called against Bryn Mawr. Laura Moberg ’99 faked out the Bryn Mawr defense with her quick cutting and passed the ball to Richards, who ran for five meters. Williams won the resulting maul and fly-half Emily Eakin ’99 sent a stunning pop kick over the Bryn Mawr scrummies. Maureen Brudzinski ’99 burst through the crowd to dive on the ball and score.

Spooner’s successful conversion left the score at 7-0. Bryn Mawr returned this effort by breaking through after a five meter scrum and scoring, but they missed the resulting conversion.

Bryn Mawr came back and made a second effort. One of their players used her size and momentum to break through the Ephs’ scrummies, but fortunately a brilliant tackle by Katherine Belecki ’01 brought her down. Despite this, Bryn Mawr managed to get it to the Williams try zone, but the ball was held up. They tried to take advantage of a penalty opportunity by diving forward quickly before they thought Williams was ready. But the quick reflexes of Eakin allowed her to dive under the ball and another 5 meter scrum resulted in which Jessica Coffin ’00 stole one of many Bryn Mawr hooks. After many efforts that were held up, one resulting in an injury to Spooner, Bryn Mawr finally managed to penetrate the zone. The kick hit the uprights and bounced through.

Richards responded to the tally with a 20 meter run up the side. The scrum took over and drove Bryn Mawr back into its own territory. Williams won the maul and Richards took the ball weak, dishing it off to Moberg, who broke away and scored a try. Julia Cianfarini ’01 then sent the ball sailing through the uprights.

Eakin set up another Williams effort by making a weak side run and kicking for touch over three defenders. Rebecca Rehm ’00 broke through the five meter Bryn Mawr line-out and dove on the ball, touching it down for a try.

Williams returned the Bryn Mawr kick and brought it deep into their territory. Bryn Mawr tried to clear the ball with a kick, but Cianfarini made a clean catch, popping the ball to Richards. Richards brilliantly dodged three oncoming tacklers to score.

Near the end of the game, Bryn Mawr managed to score again, but it was too little too late, as Williams celebrated a 24-17 victory.

In Sunday’s final match, Williams faced the all-too-familiar Plymouth State, whom they had beaten to win both the New England and Northeastern titles. Devon DiClerico ’01 received the kickoff, taking the ball all the way back to the 50 meter line before being pushed into touch. Despite this effort, Plymouth managed to score twice before Williams could retaliate.

Retaliation came when Williams was rewarded a penalty. Scrumhalf Beth Friedman ’01 faked a pass to the props and took the ball herself, dishing it off to Richards who took contact, falling into the try zone and scoring.

A great run by Yana Dadiomova ’00 brought the ball to within 15 meters of their try zone where a Friedman to Cianfarini to Richards combination got Williams into the try zone. However, just as Richards was about to touch it down, a Plymouth player grabbed her neck, swung her around and threw her out of the try zone. A penalty try was awarded and Cianfarini’s conversion was successful.

Unfortunately, Plymouth responded with two tries and a successful conversion, despite several great runs by Natalie Marchant ’01. Eakin jumpstarted Williams with a brilliant run up the middle, passing it off to Richards who popped it to Cianfarini. She was able to push through the final five meters to score.

Williams was within 15 meters of the Plymouth try zone for the last 40 seconds, making the game exciting to the very end, but unfortunately, the White Dawgs were unable to break through. The weekend’s strong efforts allowed Williams to accept their trophy with pride and return to campus placed second nationally in Division II.

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