Penn defense poses test for women’s rugby

Bears hope to work out kinks, growing pains in preparation for duel with Quaker squad

Sports Staff Writer
Friday, September 19, 2014

Coming off its breakout win over Harvard last weekend, the rugby team will travel to Philadelphia to take on Ivy foe Penn. Brown (1-0) kicked off its 2014 campaign with a hard-fought win over the defending Ivy champions and is looking to continue its domination Saturday against the Quakers (1-0).

Neither Brown nor Penn will be lacking in confidence, as the Penn team also comes into the contest with an undefeated record and victory over Columbia (0-1) already under its belt. The two teams did not face each other in 2013, though the Bears earned a decisive victory over the Quakers in fall 2012. But that contest is now distant history for college teams whose lineups can fluctuate from year to year.

Head Coach Kathleen Flores is only in her second year with Brown, so she has never seen the two teams play in league competition.

“I know that they are very scrappy,” Flores said. “In the past, there have always been the top four Ivies and then the next four, and they were always knocking on the door to that top four.”

In Penn’s season debut, the squad faltered early in rainy conditions against Columbia but picked up its pace in time to jump ahead of the Lions and secure a win. The Bears will have to watch out for the Quakers’ senior Lucy Dawson, who scored two tries and won three of six conversion attempts in their opener. The Penn defense also proved to be solid, shutting out the Lions over 80 minutes of play.

Brown will take the field with the same winning mentality it utilized against Harvard. With the squad looking to shine in its first varsity year, the Bears’ coaches said they have already been impressed.

“Harvard did beat us pretty handily last year,” Flores said. “While it wasn’t a surprise that we won … it was certainly welcome.” The Bears made history by winning the first-ever varsity Ivy League women’s rugby game.

Facing Penn, Bruno will seek to maintain the successful parts of its approach against Harvard, while also making adjustments and tweaks in order to play an even better game Saturday.

“We took what we didn’t do well at Harvard … so we’ve been practicing working on our defensive launch a lot, and trying to bring up our attacking line a bit,” Flores said.

Both teams will be hungry for the win Saturday, but only one can take home a victory. The Bears seem to think it will be them.