While the women’s rugby team’s season ultimately had to end, at least it ended on a high note.
A dominant win against Wesleyan Oct. 23 capped an overall successful campaign for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs finished second in the Northeast Rugby Football Union behind Boston College, the only team the Elis lost to this season. Before their game with Wesleyan, the team had come away with victories against the University of Connecticut, Smith College and Boston University.
Back Laura Jeanty ’06 said the decisive 41-0 victory against Wesleyan was the culminating achievement of a long season of hard work.
“There were lots of things we worked on this season that we put together and came out strong,” Jeanty said. “The win was reflective of the fact that we’ve had a good season and the rookies have made a huge contribution to the team.”
The rugby team sports a relatively young roster, with 11 of the 23 women being either freshman or sophomores.
“The rookies have been really important for the team this season and picked up the game really quickly,” captain Ali Oliva ’05 said. “Everything came together really well. Our coaches are great and know a lot about the game.”
Although the team as a whole dominated Wesleyan, the play of Amanda Webb ’06, a scrumhalf, and Phillippa Thomson ’06, the team president and a flyhalf, highlighted the match. The pair once again showed the excellent chemistry they have had from the beginning of the season to the end.
“The two of them worked well together as a team. They’re a unit and have played well all season,” Jeanty said. “They did it again in this game [against Wesleyan], and it shows they’re a good aspect to our team.”
In the game against the Cardinals, the forwards also displayed a wide array of skills. Katherine O’Brien ’07 managed to catch a kick off to the other team, a feat that was a testament to her hard work all season.
“Katie O’Brien, an eightman, had a great game,” Jeanty said. “[She] caught a kick off to the other team because she’s so fast, strong and aggressive.”
In past games, the Elis tended to pick up momentum in the second half, but against Wesleyan, the Bulldogs reversed this trend. Right from the opening kick off, the Elis started off strong against Wesleyan. This improvement, along with other skills developed through the course of the season, were in full effect in the 41-0 shellacking.
Oliva added that the team’s cohesion was another positive to take from the final contest.
“As captain, it’s been really rewarding seeing everyone come together and play so well as a team,” Oliva said. “People started to click well as teammates as the season went on, and you could see this in our record.”
The women are optimistic about next season as well. Not only did the team finish with a decisive win, but the Elis also have enormous potential in their strong rookies and coaching.
“I’m excited for where this team is going because we have really strong players in the freshman and sophomore classes,” flanker Margaret Fox ’05 said. “And we’ll be doing lots of recruiting this spring.”
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