Women’s rugby faced Colby on Saturday in its third game of the season. Despite a cohesive team effort and strong offensive play in the second half, the White Dawgs were unable to secure a victory, falling 17-7.
Colby’s short and narrow pitch posed a strategic problem for the women. They adapted to the pitch by having four cycles of the forwards before passing it off to the line. This strategy was employed so that the force of the scrummies would push Colby back and allow the linies to make an easy run. However, the women could not cleanly set the ball, which led to suboptimal passing between the forwards and the backs. Adding to the women’s challenges, Colby committed several dirty plays throughout the match, frequently diving in the scrumdowns and pulling the women’s hair.
Despite their style of play, the Colby squad was clearly stronger in line-outs, and this led to two breakaway tries and a conversion in the first half to put Colby up 12-0.
In the second half of the match, the women increased their intensity. Down by only two scores, the White Dawgs worked together to attempt to even up the score. The White Dawgs made it to their 22 and were posed to score at four different times in the half. Despite some intense runs by linie Elanie Wilson ’15 and spirited tackles by flanker Aubree Stephens ’12, the women could not push past the Colby defense. After five rounds of scrumdowns, scrummie captain Colleen Fitzpatrick ’12 powered through the defense to put the White Dawgs on the board. Elizabeth Dietz ’15 made a successful conversion kick to narrow Colby’s lead to 12-7.
With the point disparity dwindling, the White Dawgs maintained their intensity, but they could not push hard enough to knot the game. In the final minutes of play, Colby slipped by the women’s defense and scored a try to end the game with Colby ahead 17-7.
Despite the loss, Head Coach Gina Coleman took confidence from her squad’s effort. “Next week when we meet Amherst, I’m not going to say we can win – or even we should win – but that we will beat Amherst,” Coleman said.
Williams will take on rival Amherst on Saturday.