Ivy-leading women’s rugby look to continue roll

Three-game winning streak, history of dominance over Lions bode well for Bruno

Sports Staff Writer
Friday, October 3, 2014

Saskia Morgan ’16 eludes a defender as she carries the ball toward the try-line. The junior has scored a try in each of the Bears’ first three games.

Columbia, coming off its first Ivy win of the season over Yale, will be looking to pick up momentum when it faces the women’s rugby team Saturday. But the Lions (1-2), who have had difficulty putting points on the board this season, are likely to struggle against a Brown (3-0) squad that has steamrolled through the season so far. The Bears have won their last two games by margins of 66 and 36 points, respectively.

Besides its win over Yale, Columbia has two conference losses, both shutouts served to the Lions by Cornell and Penn. The Bears dominated Penn with a 76-10 win, so if the transitive property applies to rugby, Bruno has good reason to be confident Saturday. But unpredictable elements always emerge in the sport.

“You can never tell just based on a team’s history,” said co-captain Tiara Mack ’16. “You can never tell what they’re going to be good at or what you’re going to be good at. Every game is different.” The rainy weather predicted for Saturday also will be a factor for gameplay, Mack added.

In 2013, Bruno effectively thrashed the Lions, coming away with a 105-0 victory, the squad’s only triple-digit win in recent history. Wildly skewed scores like this one are rare in rugby. The Bears have not lost to Columbia since at least 2009.

“Columbia always has a large roster with a few very good athetes,” said Head Coach Kathleen Flores. “Last year, we handled them fairly well, but we aren’t taking anything for granted.”

The Bears will be on the watch for Columbia standout Amber Brock, who notched three tries in the Lions’ win over Yale.

The Bears don’t plan to take this game lightly. Mack said that the team is “making sure that every game we play gets us one step closer to being a much better team and working together … Even though it will be an easier game, so to say, it doesn’t mean we can’t focus on … the technical aspects.”

As Brown prepares for games against competitive Navy and Princeton teams in the coming weeks, as well as impending Ivy and ACRA championships, the squad continues to emphasize constant skill development and improvement, playing each match at 100 percent.

Bruno has been drilling skill development for many of the younger players in practice, as well as maintaining levels of athleticism and fitness, Flores said.

“There are a lot of things that we haven’t really tried on the field yet, just because we’re still not as comfortable with them, or because they’re new aspects of play that our coaches introduce,” Mack said. Saturday’s faceoff against Columbia offers a chance to try out “different small technical things that we haven’t necessarily tried against the tougher teams that we played earlier in the season.”

The Bears seem poised to be a top contender for the Ivy title, so they will take all the practice they can get. Brown is the only remaining undefeated team in the conference and already took down 2013 Ivy champion Harvard in its season opener. For their debut as a varsity squad, the Bears are certainly making a name for themselves. They hope to continue their reign Saturday as they take on Columbia at home on Marvel Field at 11 a.m.


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