While many Williams students spent their first weekend back at school enjoying their last moments of minimal homework, women’s rugby dove right into the two-day Beantown Tournament at UMass-Amherst. Three scrimmages helped the team gear up for the beginning of the season this weekend.
The women traveled to UMass-Amherst on Sunday morning for a 10 a.m. game against Wellesley. The Blue arrived with only 11 players, requiring them to ask for replacements. With a number of injured players, the White Dawgs shuffled up the scrum and the line and began the game. The teams were not badly matched, but the White Dawgs met with hard luck, including a few breakaways by one opposing player and an unfortunate blocked kick in the try zone touched down by Wellesley. The misfortune continued as scrumhalf Mai Okimoto ’13 retired from the match with an abdominal injury. However, this unfavorable event did allow Meredith Yang ’14, a talented rookie, to deliver a stellar performance as she stepped in for Okimoto. In the end, the depleted ranks and shifted positions proved too much for the White Dawgs, and the match ended with a score of 31-0.
The intrepid team played a bright and early 8 a.m. Saturday morning match against none other than Amherst, its most despised rival. Giving the ball to the kicker at every opportunity rather than making the heroic effort required to penetrate the Williams defense, Amherst made two of three indefensible penalty kicks, thus putting up the only points they scored for the entire match in the first six minutes, making the score 6-0. The White Dawgs rallied and pushed hard, failing to score and losing in the end by a matter of inches after Dilia Ortega ’13 attempted to plow through the Amherst defense. However, with the Amherst strategy revealed, the White Dawgs will be sure to prevail in this weekend’s league match against the very same.
“Our scrum against Amherst showed that we were pretty well-matched, so we’re excited to work hard this week and [win] next week,” Rhianna Alyxander ’13 said.
Williams had a brief rest before a noon match-up against Bowdoin. As the match commenced, it was clear that it would be a tough one. Bowdoin’s varsity team fielded many excellent players, testing the skill of the Williams women. The White Dawgs showed great effort, with Ariana Gonzalez ’13 kicking a penalty goal to bring the score to 3-0 Williams. Even so, with Bowdoin fresh off the bus and Williams one game in, the White Dawgs could not hold off the Polar Bears, who triumphed 53-3.
“This weekend was a learning experience for us. We had a lot of good seniors last year, and I think now it’s just a matter of learning to work together as a team again,” said WWRFC president Clair Embry ’11. “I have no doubt that the team that plays Amherst next week will be light-years above what we saw this weekend.”
Williams will take on longtime rival Amherst on Cole Field at 11 a.m. on Saturday.