Sports

Rugby team completes undefeated regular season

In first varsity season, Bruno will be favored at Ivy Championships after sustained dominance

By
Contributing Writer
Monday, October 27, 2014

A Bruno player attempts to escape tacklers. The Bears’ defense has been as stingy as their offense has been potent, not allowing more than 15 points in any match while the attack has scored nearly 57.5 points per game.

The women’s rugby team ended its first regular season as a varsity team with a perfect 6-0 record Saturday with its 46-12 victory over visiting Navy at Marvel Field.

With scores of family members and friends attending the match, the squad took the muddy pitch ready to battle for a win that would close an extremely impressive season.

The U.S. Naval Academy (1-4) was arguably the most challenging competitor Brown (6-0, 5-0 Ivy) has faced thus far: None of Bruno’s Ivy League foes had brought the Midshipmen’s degree of aggression and athleticism.

Head Coach Kathy Flores predicted beforehand that the game against Navy would be closer due to Navy’s physical style.

In preparation for its matchup with the forceful challenger, Brown worked on its contact game at practices this week. The extra practice playing more aggressively proved beneficial at Saturday’s contest.

The match began with a struggle for possession between the two teams. After about 10 minutes of flip-flopping control of the ball, the Bears were finally able to put points on the board with a try by co-captain Oksana Goretaya ’17. Sofia Rudin ’17 successfully converted, taking the score to 7-0.

Seconds later, prop Elisha Miles ’15 avoided Navy’s defense and ran for 40 meters, then offloaded the ball to lock Tiara Mack ’16, who was able to run across the try-line and score. Natalie Klotz ’14.5 also scored during the Bears’ surge.

In spite of Brown’s momentum on offense and the team’s solid defense, Navy was able to finally cross the try-line and score a try of its own, reminding the Bears that they would not be able to trample the Midshipmen as they had done with other teams.

Bruno quickly addressed Navy’s impending morale boost with tries scored by Amber Reano ’16 and Kiki Morgan ’16, extending the lead to 29-7. An increasingly irritated Navy squad garnered multiple penalties in the last several minutes of the half, and any attempts to score were shut down by huge tackles by the Bears.

After halftime, both teams took the field determined to clinch a win. Early in the half, a Navy penalty resulted in Rudin successfully converting a penalty goal. Relentless defense by both teams made for an offensively stagnant second half.

Throughout the period, Navy managed to get dangerously close to Brown’s try-line but never scored. Nevertheless, after a 34-minute-long try drought, the speedster Morgan made a hard cut and managed to get through the almost impenetrable Navy defense, scoring her second try of the match and pushing the score to 39-7. Morgan’s try rejuvenated the home team, as the Bears’ aggressive defense seemed to push Navy farther away from the try-line.

But after receiving a yellow card for a professional foul, Brown sent a player to the sidelines, and a determined Navy team was able to take advantage of the uneven numbers and score. The effort was futile, though, as the Bears had established a deficit too large to be surmounted in 10 minutes. With one minute left, May Siu ’15 scored again for the Bears, bringing the final score to 46-14.

Though still a blowout, the match was the second-closest game of the season for a team that had averaged victories by a margin of over 50 points. The closest was the first game of the season, when Brown defeated Harvard, last year’s Ivy League champion, by nine points.

“We were lucky to have this match,” Flores said. “Navy challenged the team in ways we haven’t been challenged yet. We matched them. And this took us to a whole new level.”

This game marks the end of the regular season for the Bears. Dartmouth hosts the Ivy League championships next weekend, which Bruno will enter as the top seed. Bruno will also compete in the American Collegiate Rugby Association Regionals, which begin Nov. 15.

Until then, Flores said she believes the Bears will remain successful as long as they “continue to stay humble and do what they’ve been doing well and work on things the team has identified that they need to work on.”

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