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Spring 2010 Game Summaries

Beast of the East

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Beast of the East Tournament, Day 1
April 17th, Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Yesterday's cold and wet conditions did not deter the 78 teams who descended on Glenn Farm in Middletown, R.I. for "Day 1" of one of the biggest collegiate tournament in the country, hosted annually by Providence Rugby Club.  Cramped fields and schedules, abbreviated matches, and parking and shuttling issues were the usual annoyances for team managers and coaches.  But the festival atmosphere created when thousands of rugby players and fans are playing, warming up, cooling down, and coming and going in an area the size of approximately 5 rugby fields is undeniably energizing and exciting- and the DWRC came up with two shut-outs to further inspire their own good mood.

DII University of Rhode Island, playing up for the weekend into the First Division bracket, were first on the DRWC dance card.  The first half (20 minutes) was marred with knock-ons and penalties, but URI was unable to contain the Big Green's #10 Jenna "Cunner" Cunningham '10 , who took the match into her own hands and ran two tries in through flat-footed defenders.   The DWRC never settled into their vertical game plan, but Cunningham did go up the middle one more time in the second half for the hat trick and the final try of the match.   DWRC #9 Ilda Bajraktari '11 had the first of two very commendable matches in tough conditions, as did second row Vanessa Mercado '12.  Captain "Eagle" McDavid '10 added some nice breaks, but was denied a try off one of them as three defenders converged on her in the try zone and the ball was spilled.  Tries: Cunningham (3) Conversions: Annie Jones '11 (1)

DWRC 28, Syracuse 0
The Big Green was hoping for an exciting showdown against Syracuse, with plans to avenge their season-ending, hotly contested 17-12 NRU fall playoff upset.  But the Big Orange had big problems at the breakdown, and the DWRC made the most of it with controlled possession, dominating set pieces, penetrating vertical attacks, and inspired breakaways. Forwards' Captain Meghan "Eagle" McDavid led her crew offensively with several blazing blindside and inside channel  breaks, and backs Captain Leah Weisman '10 added a gritty defensive performance against a very strong Syracuse wing, as well as the final try of the match.

Jenna Cunningham, not satisfied with her first hat trick, added 18 more points to the tally as she powered in two more tries and converted all four tries of the match with an incredible kicking exhibition.  Center Ashley Afranie-Sakyi '13 added five more points on a hard run up the middle in the first half.First-year prop Katelyn Burgess did a great job in set pieces, Flanker Melanie Pastuck '11 and second row Vanessa Mercado '12 met the feisty Syracuse side with equal mettle and determination, disrupting many of their rucks to re-gain possession for the DWRC.

Beast of the East Tournament, Day 2
April 18th, Portsmouth, Rhode Island

The DWRC woke up sore but well-rested on Sunday after Saturday's cold, wet matches and the evening's long study session. Day #2 of the Beast of the East Tournament brought much nicer weather along with tougher competition.

Dartmouth 24 ,Yale 0

The Big Green forwards, with small hookers Jamie Smart '10 at prop, and Lauren diBiccari '10 at #2, dominated set scrums and applied strong defensive pressure around the rucks, causing Yale to kick away their possession and preventing them from using substantial offensive overloads. The Bull Dogs managed to cross the 50 meter line with the ball in hand just twice in the first 20 minute half, almost scoring on a penalty 5 meters out. The DWRC remained composed and was able to re-gain possession and put it to the trusty foot of Jenna Cunningham '10 to turn the assault around. Pass-catch problems plagued the DWRC all weekend and this match was no exception, as several scoring opportunities literally slipped through the three quarters' hands. The barrage of first-half attacks yielded some fruit, though, as Captain "Eagle" McDavid #8 continued her bust-out weekend with stellar cross-field support, resulting in a pick-and-jam up a narrow blindside channel for her first try on the day. Cunningham converted for a 7-0 halftime score.

The DWRC sorted out some issues at half, and came out with more solid defense and re-commitment to a vertical offense, a game plan that resulted in less mistakes and more points. A quick ball out of a recovered defensive ruck resulted in 60 meter sprint up the touch line by McDavid, this time off-loading to co-captain winger Leah Weisman '10 for the finish. Cunningham converted again. Not satisfied with conversion points, Cunningham then added a try of her own, gathering messy ball after the DWRC worked it's way down the center of the pitch with transitional play by McDavid and hard-running by centers Annie Jones '11 and Ashley Afranie-Sakyi '13. A final try from rookie winger Sarah Toupal '10 as she supported the play from the opposite touch line ended the match, with Yale once again crossing the 50 meter line only twice during the half. The forwards all played commendably in the breakdowns, providing great platforms after every line break from which to launch the DWRC's fast-paced offensive.

Dartmouth 10, Princeton 0

The DWRC faced a gritty Princeton side in the DI Championship match. Princeton's game plan included long driving mauls that ate up clock time in these very short games, followed by deep kicks to pin opponents to their try line. The DWRC spent the first half of the match adjusting to this challenging offensive, and trying to find ways to get the ball in hand in order to put points on the board. But Princeton's hopes of scoring a quick try or two before the DWRC defense could adjust were dashed just before halftime, as Dartmouth dug their heals in for a long but victorious defensive effort at the line. At half the match was scoreless.

The Big Green played a much more disciplined second-half, with more aggressive tackling to prevent Princeton from mauling, and with patient counter-attacks as Princeton continued to go to the air. #12 Afranie-Sakyi made some crushing tackles and explosive runs, while #2 Lauren diBiccari, #3 Claire Scott, and #4 Vanessa Mercado increased the defensive pressure around rucks. Fatigue started to set in for #10 Jenna Cunningham, who had an outstanding tournament and led the DWRC in weekend points, but she managed to launch some great kick-and-chases and make several outstanding runs. #9 Ilda Bajraktari, in the 4th of four excellent performances, continued to keep the offense moving with great delivery under substantial pressure. But Captain and #8 Eagle McDavid once again stood out, scoring the only points of the match, with a fantastic breakaway try through the inside channel at a ruck on the 50 meter line at the 30 minute mark, and dive-over try as she filled in at first receiver after a crash from the inside backs in the final minutes of the game. Final Score- 10-0.