Women’s rugby stumbles out of the gate in early season matches

With matches as far away as Maine and as close to home as Cole Field, women’s rugby has been busy this September.

With a whole host of eager rookies, the women geared up for the first home match of the season last Saturday against Tufts, stumbling 15-7. On Sept. 15, the team traveled to Maine for a match against Bowdoin, ultimately falling 65-0. This defeat came on the heels of the women’s performance at the Beantown College Rugby Tournament on Sept. 8-9. On the first day of the tournament, Sept. 8, the women came up short 10-5 to Smith and 59-3 to Bowdoin later in the day. On Sept. 9, the team lost to Amherst by a score of 12-0.

Angela Pastorelli-Sosa ’16 impressed the crowd with several stellar runs, while Dara Hyacinthe ’16 had a striking debut performance. Not only were the rookies in top form, but returning players also made tremendous plays. Ro Pembroke ’15 tackled the Tufts ruggers, and Sally Waters ’15 brought a fiery power to her work on the line. Co-captain Dilia Ortega ’13 and Joss Atahualpa ’13 shared one brain on the pitch, displaying remarkable continuity and earning a try for the White Dawgs. Liz Dietz ’15 earned the team a few more points with a successful penalty kick. However, the women ultimately fell to Tufts 15-7.

On Sept. 15, the women played a rematch against Bowdoin in their first league game of the season. Despite an inventive campaign to boost team morale, the women fell 65-0 to Bowdoin. In the ‘B’-side match, co-captain Ariana Gonzalez ’13 was able to rack up a few points for the White Dawgs, who lost 24-7.

On Sept. 8-9, the women participated in the annual two-day Beantown College Rugby Tournament hosted by UMass-Amherst. On Sept. 8, 15 women, including three newly-minted rookies, hit the pitch for a rough-and-tumble match against Smith. Taking the lead in the first half with a glorious try by Waters, the second half proved to be a struggle for the White Dawgs, as they fell behind. Williams finished the first match of the day with a 10-5 loss to Smith.

A brief while later, the women returned to the pitch to take on Bowdoin. Despite heroic efforts by Amanda Weber ’13, a fresh face on the line, and Hannah Ohlson ’15, a returning back, Bowdoin overpowered the team with a 59-3 defeat. Bowdoin went on to win the Div. II title at the tournament.

On Sept. 9, the team took on Amherst, with only 11 players taking the pitch due to injuries sustained the previous day. Luckily, generous ruggers from UMass-Amherst and Keene State volunteered to fill out the team. Dietz used her agile footwork to land several solid kicks, and Atahualpa charged through the Amherst players. Kate Taylor-Hasty ’14 lurched from the pack for an especially splendid run, and Julia Embry ’13 managed to lose her shirt in one exceptionally violent maul. Ultimately, the White Dawgs were unable to land a try, and their opponents pulled ahead in the second half to blank Williams 12-0.

The White Dawgs found comfort in the strong performances by their rookies. Appraising their performance at Beantown, Gonzalez and Ortega offered a few words of inspiration: “Where there is power, there is resistance.”

Despite a slow start to the season, the women ruggers maintain a positive outlook on their season. The team will travel to Bates for a match this Saturday.

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