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Women's Rugby Concludes Season With Two Decisive Shutout Games

By Tallessyn Grenfell
Team Member

The women's rugby club finished their season with a 5񩧽 record this spring. The season started with their first annual spring tour.

During spring break, the team traveled to the San Francisco Bay area to play the Berkeley and Bay Area She-Hawks club and tied that match, 1212. It was a challenging match for the team because they are used to playing against collegiate teams. The team was forced to raise their level of play to the club level and put up a strong fight against the California teams which had been playing outside all winter long.

After this match the team traveled to Santa Cruz and played the University of California at Santa Cruz Banana Slugs, and won that match 220. Due to shortages of players it was a challenging match, but it was played on the most beautiful field anyone had ever seen, which overlooked miles of mountainous coastline.

Team takes third in tournament

Warmed up by the spring tour, the team started their regular home season with a 300 game against Dartmouth College's B side. Then the Division II MIT team competed in a New England Division I tournament in Providence, R.I.; coming in third in their section by defeating Yale University (75) and the University of Southern Connecticut. A defeat by the University of Connecticut (1310), gave the team their only loss in the entire season.

The first two games were played in freezing rain and the team had to fight hard against Yale. However, with strong defense in the back line and great rucking by the forwards, they secured position of the ball and managed to get a breakaway try which landed close enough to the center of the goal posts to secure the conversion kick, giving MIT the 2 point edge to victory.

In the UConn game, the teams were tied at 1010 until the last few minutes of the match, when a penalty awarded to UConn gave them the opportunity for a kick to goal, which gave UConn the extra three points needed to defeat MIT.

The second day of the tournament was warm and sunny, and to the continuing surprise of the Division Iteams, MIT defeated Southern Connecticut with a similar breakaway try and conversion kick combination. The back line again showed increasingly strong passing and crashing techniques, and the scrums evened out until MIT was dominating the Southern Conn line.

Team shutouts home games

The last two games of the season were MIT's only home games. In the first game, MIT bested Northeastern 250. From the beginning MIT dominated the game by scoring in the first 30 seconds of the game. Karen Willcox G kept her eye on the weak side and pulled off a successful weak side play with the help of wing Jenna Joy G.

The rest of the game was an opportunity for MIT to practice the offensive skills they'd been working on all season and additional tries were scored by flyhalf Marianne Bitler. Backs such as Vanessa Chan G and Radika Bhaskar '98 intimidated Northeastern by crashing through their ineffective tackles, gaining many yards before setting up clean mauls for the supporting forwards to maintain possession.

The last match of the season was against MIT's long arch-rival Wellesley College. Although MIT has been dominated in the past by Wellesley, MIT continued its three year win streak with a 390 win.

MIT came on strong from the beginning, and forwards Sheri White G and Trelawney Grenfell showed excellent loose play defense to keep hard pressure on Wellesley's kickers and flyhalf.

Despite Wellesley's one real asset, two amazingly huge and strong props, the MIT pack led by props Crystal Harris '00 and Emily Chang G kept its feet to get the ball out quickly, winning their own put-ins consistently.

Wing Liz Hick G scored several breakaway tries, speeding by the tired Wellesley backs to secure the ball at the center of the goal posts. After MIThad scored, Wellesley's kickoffs were secured from the air by forwards Susan Lang '98 and Grenfell. Wellesley had very little opportunity for offense, and MIT ended up dominating the game and score.