Women’s rugby endures tough start to open fall season

The WWRFC is back again this fall ready to continue its tradition of spectacular rugby in the purple valley. Under the new leadership of captains Roshni “TMBD” David ’01 and Julia “Rhythm” Cianfarini ’01, the team has welcomed a great group of new and returning players down to the pitch this year. With a roster full of depth and potential, the team hopes to embark on another wonderful season in Division I.

This past weekend the WWRFC participated in the Beantown Tournament at UMass-Amherst, the largest Women’s collegiate rugby tournament in the country.

The weekend served as a great learning experience for rookies and valuable preparation for league games starting September 23 against University of Connecticut. In Saturday’s first game, the White Dawgs faced Radcliffe.

Despite excellent tackling by Virginia Despard ’02 and Lizzie Jacobs ’01, wonderful hooking by Amy Balas ’01 and lightning fast runs by Maria Drinane ’02, Radcliffe managed to score a few measly points.

By the end of the game, the White Dawgs had settled down and the scrum had shown how tough it is going to be this year.

The loss to Radcliffe did not reflect the strength and teamwork exhibited on the pitch. The second match of the day paired the WWRFC against the numerous sallies from Smith. Cianfarini commented “There were enough of them to choke a horse.” After a tough 5-27 loss to Smith last year, the first minutes of the game were dominated by the scrappy flanking of David, the power of Devon DiClerico ’01 and the tackling of Katherine Belecki ’01. The Smith line continued to falter under the pressure applied by DiClerico, Audrey Herzig ’03 and Healy Thompson ’03.

The only White Dawg try was scored after Cianfarini received the ball from Thompson and chased her kick 50 meters down the field, heroically touching the ball down in the try zone.

The hard fought game continued with excellent tackling and concentration by Despard, David, Katie Gortz ’03, Erin Dempsey ’01, Beth “Wonder Woman” Friedman ’01, and Victoria “It’s my birthday” Goldman ’01.

The crucial points in the game came after DiClerico kicked for 3 points and put the White Dawgs ahead 8-5. The game ended with a well-deserved win for the WWRFC.

The team returned on Sunday morning to face UConn while the rest of the campus slept. After a long warm-up, the White Dawgs took the field and exhibited great stamina and strength. David and Lynn Lim ’01 criss-crossed the field tackling anyone in sight.

The scrum stood strong and tough, time after time as the ball was tied up and scrumdowns were awarded to both teams. The line worked hard as the ball was distributed under pressure from Evelyn Mahony ’03 to Friedman and out to Lim and Caroline Messmer ’02 for hard fought runs. After two easy UConn trys and conversions, the score stood 0-10 at halftime.

The scrum continued to show how tough they were in the second half as Kate “Tree” Figge ’01, Tamika Murray ’03, Jacobs and David continued to rule the field. DiClerico went 2 for 2 as she connected for another three points with a well-placed kick through the uprights. The White Dawgs spoiled a UConn five meter scrum with an excellent driving scrumdown as the seconds ticked down.

Beantown weekend proved to be an excellent experience and preview for the season.

The scrum fought hard all weekend and the line connected on some amazing plays. The White Dawgs should be a force to be reckoned with this fall season.

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