Women’s rugby geared up for its fall season with the annual two-day Beantown Tournament at UMass-Amherst this Saturday and Sunday. The Beantown Tournament attracts top teams each year, including Bowdoin, a team that is expected to be one of the top squads this season. The team played in three matches, getting some solid practice before the beginning of league matches next weekend. The women lost to Smith on Saturday by a score of 20-5 and fell again to Smith on Sunday by a score of 14-7. Despite giving Bowdoin, a varsity program, a tough challenge, the women also fell 25-0 on Saturday afternoon. The women finished the tournament with a 1-3 record, tallying a victory when Amherst failed to field a team.
The women arrived on the pitch early on Saturday for their morning match against Smith. The White Dawgs were down in numbers, with only 14 players able to play; however, UMass-Amherst lent one of its players to the women to assist them in the match. The first half of the game began strong, with the pack women plowing over Smith in scrum downs and the line making consistent passes that resulted in a try by Meredith Yang ’14. Smith rallied in the second half, gaining advantage with its strong rucks and speedy lines to score three tries and a penalty kick. After their run, Smith walked away with a 20-5 victory.
The women had several hours to recuperate before their 2 p.m. match against powerhouse Bowdoin. The odds were stacked against the White Dawgs, as they were now down to 13 players and were forced to fill out their lineup with players from Keane St. Earlier in the day, Bowdoin had crushed Amherst with a decisive score of 58-0, clearly demonstrating that this would not be an easy match for the White Dawgs. Despite these odds, the women made Bowdoin work hard for its victory, fielding a formidable defense. While the women were unable to score, they held Bowdoin to a 25-0 victory.
On Sunday, the women came prepared to face their rival Amherst on the pitch in a morning match. In an unexpected turn, Amherst never arrived and was forced to forfeit the match. With a win from the forfeit in hand, the women took on Smith for the second time that weekend. The White Dawgs at first seemed poised for victory, with Xiomara Pinto ’12 plowing through the Pioneer defenses and scoring a scrummie try in the first half. However, Smith proved to be a more difficult opponent in the second half. Although Josselyn Atahualpa ’13 and rookie Nakita Vanbiene ’15 made some impressive tackles, Smith scored two tries, and the women fell to Smith by a score of 14-7.
“We made those teams sweat and even bleed for those wins,” team president Soraya Membreno ’12 said, “and that, in my book, is a victory for us.”
The women will take on Bowdoin for a second time at UMass-Amherst on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. to open their league season.