Women’s Rugby Squad Defeats Wheaton, 25-15
Comes from Behind to Break Long Losing StreakBy Catherine Foo
In the last home game of the season, the Women’s Rugby Team defeated Wheaton College 25-15, and broke a losing streak that has lasted multiple seasons.
For a team of mostly rookies, it was appropriate that the scoring was dominated by new players: four tries for fullback Danielle M. Gilbert ’05 and one breakaway try for flanker Olivia Leitermann ’05, with multiple assists by scrumhalf Sarah L. Daigh ‘03.
Shortly after kickoff, Wheaton scored the first try of the game, but MIT came back strong, with quick rolling mauls and strong rucks. Tech advanced the ball into the try zone several times, where the ball was held up by the Wheaton pack.
Although the rest of the game was played on the attacking side, the score at halftime was still 5-0, Wheaton.
Right after the halftime whistle, a Wheaton penalty allowed MIT to restart play 10 meters from their try line. Prop Emmajane M. Poulton ’03 took the penalty into the Wheaton pack, setting the tone for the second half.
MIT dominated the rest of the game, displaying an aggression that has been missing in previous games. On defense, a rookie back line, led by veteran flyhalf Vanessa Li ’02, applied fast pressure to the Wheaton back line, causing numerous turnovers. Li also had several strong runs down the middle of the pitch, allowing Tech to advance far towards their try line.
Rookie wing Jenny Hu ’05 caused a key turnover, intercepting a pass and running the ball up the field to set up a try for Gilbert.
After three consecutive MIT tries, Wheaton caught MIT off-guard and made a quick try off a penalty. MIT quickly countered with another one of their own tries, staying in the lead.
Rookie hooker Julie L. Goss ’05 stole the majority of Wheaton’s scrums, allowing eightman Kristin R. Brodie ’03 to start a series of rolling mauls that quickly advanced down the field.
The Tech forwards were quick at recycling the ball back into play, allowing several forward runs down the field, including one from rookie prop Vanessa K. Selbst ’05 that brought the ball within feet of the try line, allowing Gilbert to make another try.
Support arrived quickly at each breakdown, especially from veteran second rows, Leah K. Premo ’04 and Emily C. Vincent ’04. Vincent was also a key player in lineouts, stealing several Wheaton balls.
Women’s Rugby played their last game of the season against Brandeis at 11 a.m. on Saturday, at Daly Field. MIT lost to Brandeis, 20-10.