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Women’s rugby snaps losing streak in dominant fashion against Columbia

Fast start, Okoro’s performance lift Bears over Columbia in crucial shutout victory

The sport of rugby, in all its roughness and brutality, can hardly be considered easy, but watching Uzoamaka Okoro ’16 Saturday might have fooled you. The senior made the game look easy all afternoon, collecting passes on the wing and gliding past Columbia defenders.

The women’s rugby team showed superior strength and speed in a 90-0 beat down of the Lions (0-4, 0-4 Ivy) at Marvel Field. The win gets Brown (4-2, 3-1) back on track after dropping its previous two matches, its first regular-season losses since being elevated to varsity status at the beginning of last season. The conference win was especially crucial for the Bears, who needed to rebound after losing to Dartmouth two weeks ago, especially with the Ivy tournament upcoming.

Bruno scored early and often, seemingly moving the ball down the field at will. Okoro got the scoring started just 1:26 into the match, sprinting down the sideline untouched to give Brown the early lead. She would add four more tries in the match.

Becca Dahle ’16 had a stand-out performance of her own. Dahle was successful on 10 out of 14 conversions, contributing 20 points for the offense.

Co-captain Oksana Goretaya ’17 credited Okoro for the fast start.

“The speed of our backs, like (Okoro) and (Kiki Morgan ’16), they really set the pace,” she said.

The Bears were physically dominant, capitalizing on a noticeable size advantage. Underwhelmed with her team’s aggressiveness in the past two games, Head Coach Kathy Flores said she was pleased with Saturday’s performance.

“I saw a little more on the attack side,” Flores said. “I saw our back line moving into attack more than we have before.”

Bruno took a commanding 55-0 lead into the half and didn’t slow down in final 40 minutes. The lopsided match also gave Brown an opportunity to give much-needed experience to younger players, as well as valuable rest for the starters in advance of next week’s match at Princeton.

“It was good seeing the rookies, who are going to be the future of this team, stepping in,” said co-captain Tiara Mack ’16.

Flores was pleased that scoring didn’t stop in the second half, even with the inexperienced players on the field.

The Bears will travel to Princeton (1-2, 1-2) Saturday to close out the regular season.

“From what I understand, having seen them, we’re kind of well matched in what we have,” Flores said. “I think we maybe have a stronger scrum, but there are still some things we need to iron out.”

“We still have to work on ball handling, we still have to work on communication and the connection between the forward and the back,” Goretaya said.

Flores emphasized how important another fast start could prove to be against the Tigers.

“It’s going to be a very close match I think, unless we come with the same kind of attitude that we came with today,” she said.



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