The Williams Women’s Rugby Football Club (WWRFC) capped off its annual Rugby Goddess Week with a match against perennial favorite Keene State. After a week devoted to her homage, the rugby goddess smiled on the team, providing beautiful, sunny weather and strong, aggressive play.
By the Lady’s provision, the White Dawgs found themselves deep in Keene territory right off the bat. Barely five minutes in, a strong scrum down on the five meter line allowed scrum half Tatiana Fernandez ’11 to scoop up the ball, skirt along the pack and touch down the ball for the first try of the game.
As the sun’s rays intensified overhead, so too did the play of the Williams ruggers. Cat Vielma ’10 took advantage of her flanking position and scored two tries by getting out of the scrum quickly and powerfully punching up the sides of rucks. The first half concluded after a try by inside center Sarah Franklin ’10, who broke through Keene’s first line of defense and outran its fullback along the touch.
The second half featured strong rucking from the pack and bursting runs by outside player Meagan Braun ’12 and fullback Steph Brooks ’10. Early in the half, Vielma finished off her hat trick in an amazing try. She laid out to block a kick by the Keene fullback and proceeded to land on the ball in the try zone, touching it down for five points. Later, flyhalf Steph Reist ’09 barreled down the touch, but was brought down inches from the try line. Nevertheless, Maggie Tucker ’09 remained hot on her heels and was able to sneak the ball over the line for another score. Maddie Jones ’09 also had a scrummy try; she received a gut pass from Casey Lyons ’11 and punched into the try zone directly beneath the uprights.
The final two scores were virgin tries by first-years Kate Gallagher ’12 and Braun. In the mold of the Reist-Tucker duo, Brittni Micham ’10 caught the ball at the WWRFC 40 meter mark and galloped down to the one meter line. When Keene took her down, Braun was there to move the ball over the line in the last seconds of the game.
After a decisive romping by the A-Side, the B-Side members were eager to strut their stuff. The Killer Bs arrived on the Keene five meter line after a knock on the opening kick. Capitalizing on an early penalty and a confused Keene team, Jones quickly put five points on the board for Williams. Williams remained on the defensive for the rest of the match. The team held up well against strong run attempts by Keene, and was buoyed by beautiful tackles from Aubree Stevens ’12 and Katie Blankshain ’10. Keene did manage to break through once, however, and the game ended at a five-all draw.
After a strong showing this weekend, Williams will be playing Amherst on Sunday at 11 a.m. in the biggest match of the season.