With the gray skies of another New England fall looming over Briggs Field, the Lady Ruggers from MIT defeated Rhode Island College 69-0 on Sunday, Oct. 5.
MIT was coming off of a bye week and was eager to get out and play some rugby. During the opening minute, Adedoyin T. Ogunniyi ’11 received a pass from outside center Elizabeth B. Umhoefer ’10 and proceeded to outpace the RIC defense for the game’s first try. Ashley M. Snyder G made the conversion to bring the score to 7-0. Following the score, MIT and RIC traded possession several times, with MIT maintaining its position in RIC’s half of the field.
With the help of lifters Jordan E. Taylor ’11 and Sarah E. Dee ’10, the agile jumper Carly A. Narlesky ’11 snatched a RIC lineout to start an MIT attack. Scrum-half and captain Alyssa M. Baccarella ’11 moved the ball quickly to the backs, who ran smooth passes out to Umhoefer. Umhoefer, seizing the chance to make a play, went one-on-one with her opposite number and beat her with a dummy pass to scamper in from 30 meters out for the game’s second try.
This opened the flood gate of tries that MIT scored in the first half of this game. The next saw Sarah T. Gomez ’11 come from the fullback position and take a pass from her outside center at pace to dive over for a try, bringing the score to 17-0.
There are two units in the game of rugby, forwards and backs. The back unit can only do its job if the forwards do theirs. This game provided an excellent example of this relationship, as the entire MIT forward unit dominated their opponents, continuously pushing RIC’s back unit all over the field, opening up many attacking options for the MIT backline.
One such occasion saw the MIT forwards win a RIC scrum. Hooker Taylor quickly got the ball back to their scrum-half, who started the backline attack. The sequence finished with a heads-up loop play that saw Ogunniyi offload to Umhoefer who darted in for her second try of the day.
The blazing winger Ogunniyi split open the RIC defense for two more tries and Snyder made both conversions before the end of the half, leaving MIT up 38-0 at halftime.
The second half saw RIC return to the field with a new focus. They reorganized their defense and played hard down to the last minute, but the Engineers picked up their game and matched RIC’s intensity. It was a back-and-forth battle for the first twenty minutes of the second half. The first score finally came when MIT was awarded a penalty and the quick-thinking Snyder snuck past an unsuspecting RIC defensive line for a try. Snyder converted her own try to bring the score to 45-0.
The next five minutes saw brilliant forward play with excellent scrummaging, lineouts, and crash balls. The forwards’ hard work was awarded again with an amazing cross-field kick from Snyder that landed perfectly in the try-zone, allowing Umhoefer to dive on it for her third try. As soon as MIT received the next kickoff they pounded the ball immediately back into the RIC half. The assault ended with Baccarella making her way into the try-zone for her first try.
A few minutes later, Baccarella once again crashed through defensive line and scored her second try of the afternoon. The game closed with Ogunniyi maneuvering around five RIC defenders for the last try of the game, which, with Snyder’s conversion, brought the final score to 69-0.
Taylor was named the forward of the match in recognition of her experience and leadership in the forward pack. Taylor stepped into the position of hooker for this game on short notice and helped open up lines of attack for her teammates. Umhoefer was named the back of the match in recognition of her playmaking ability and effort on every play.
More information on the MIT women’s rugby team can be found at http://web.mit.edu/wrugby/.