UMass first challenge for DWRC

by Anne Snider | 10/30/01 6:00am

The Dartmouth Women's Rugby Club defeated the University of Massachusetts on Saturday to become the New England champions and earn the first seed in the upcoming Northeastern Tournament. The match presented the biggest challenge of the season for the DWRC, but the Big Green upped its level of play and never trailed in a 17-5 victory.

UMass employed a fairly effective kicking game, but the DWRC was prepared. Fullback Molly Johnson '02 and wings Elisse Gaynor '03, Sonia Tarantolo '04 and Kate Simon '04 were right in position time and again to lead the counterattacks.

The Dartmouth scoring began about 15 minutes into the game. Tarantolo made a tough run about 20 meters down the right sideline. After the ensuing ruck, the Big Green spun it out into the hands of outside center Bridget Waitkus '02, who kicked to space in the middle of the field. Gaynor kicked the ball into the try zone, where she fell on it for the first score of the game. After 8 man Betsy Super '02 converted the kick, the score stood at 7-0.

Minutes later, the DWRC scored again. A well-executed Dartmouth lineout to Super put the ball in the hands of scrumhalf Catherine Dale '04. Dale faked and then dished to Waitkus, who turned the corner on the left side and ran around most of the UMass backline to touch it down.

After UMass responded, scoring its only points of the day, the DWRC put more points on the board, this time as flyhalf Kathy Grayson '02 faked a pass and then dished to Waitkus, who made a long run down the middle of the field. She was followed closely by second row Karin Ljungquist '02, who set a ruck about five meters from the tryzone. The Dartmouth forwards were right behind and the ball went out wide back to Waitkus, who touched it down for her second try of the afternoon.

Good kicking led UMass right back down the field, but luckily for the DWRC, the referee blew the halftime whistle with a scrum set five meters from the UMass try zone.

Although the end of the first half actually concluded the scoring for the match, the second half was no less contested. Most of the half was played in the UMass end, but the DWRC could not seem to break the plane. UMass only realistically threatened once, but great rucking by the forwards and a joint backfield tackle by Simon and outside center Cate Macomber '04 kept the Minutewomen from scoring.

The DWRC returns to action at home next Saturday in the first round of the Northeastern Tournament. The opponent will be determined this week.

Anne Snider, a winger, is secretary of the Dartmouth Women's Rugby Club.