Berkeley | UC Santa Barbara | Claremont | Santa Monica
Dartmouth 0 vs UC Berkeley 39
With temperatures in the mid sixties, the sun shining upon a slightly muddied pitch on what was considered by Ken Berniker to be "a gorgeous day," the DWRC kicked off in the first match of its Sunny California Tour. The ladies in green started their offensive rush early in the game with Julia "cherry pick" Jacobsen and Diana "matchmaker" Geisser crashing at inside and outside center. Rucks and mauls were strong early on as the ladies surged up the pitch. Their passing practice from the days before payed off with continuity and few dropped balls early on. The wind however, aided the UCBerkeley club in halting the early DWRC attack as they kicked back to their offensive try zone where play would remain for much of the match's first half. That said, this match proved to be a defensive showcase for the Dartmouth squad. With the Bears knocking at the door of their try zone, Dartmouth's defense displayed teamwork and prevented the offense from penetrating the tryline on three separate occasions before the Bears finally found success by means of an overload scoring opportunity in the corner. And so was the story of the day. Thanks to open field tackling by Kirsten "Where can I buy a block of ice?" Ahrendt and Meg "um yeah" Rast, the Berkley club only found scoring opportunities on the outside after pounding the try zone for several minutes.
The DWRC entered the second half with a new focus of holding Berkeley to fewer phases and stronger support of the tackler in order to gain possession of the ball. As a result, the second half turned into a tackling "bonanza" with many a pounding blow dealt from the arms of Emily "Yeah, I'm from the Islands" Luscz and Nanette "running tower of fear" Cedeno. While the backline proved it has come full circle with a strong connection at the newly filled positions of scrumhalf, by Issy "I'm gonna punch you in the face" Anderson, and fly half, Rachel "etch-a-sketch(y) master" Forman, the forwards had a strong half with Captain Erin "my minivan is lost...again" Garnett and Alyssa "You're off the team!" Caballero running pick and jams and steadily moving the ball up meters at a time. With nine minutes left and following several warnings for foul play around the rucks, Mallory "yeah I can take you" McQueen was sin-binned for playing the ball on the ground. Overall, the team lacked the continuity necessary to spark 3rd and 4th phases and as a result were never able to put points on the board resulting in the final score of 0-39.
Alumni and parent support was also strong for the first match of tour. Particularly noteworthy were Stacy Davis '99 and her husband Oscar who furnished "a fruit and nut medley, clementines, cookies, and of course, bananas and peanut butter -for recovery." Also supporting in green were John and Nancy Kennedy, parents of Kelly Kennedy '05, Meg "I'm here for the free food" Verdeyen '03, Lois "I'm networking" Schonberger.
Dartmouth 0 vs UC Santa Barbara 49
The DWRC started strong in a match that tested the club's endurance. Powerful offensive play from Julia "ouch my chafe" Jacobsen and Rachel "I don't think that's funny" Forman almost scored a try for the Big Green but fell short due to a lack of support. As the first half wore on, the strong runners from the Santa Barbara side created a challenge for the Dartmouth defense. Curiously plagued by missed tackles and a defense that was slow to recycle, the DWRC finally surrendered a try on an overload from Santa Barbara. Although the team as a whole experienced difficulty tackling, Tayray "ankle-mush" Hopper and Mallory "freshmen have rights too" McQueen led the charge with defensive play that stopped the Santa Barbara Club in their tracks.
Unfortunately, the second half proved to be just as challenging. Dartmouth started off with a stronger emphasis on tackling to the ground and regaining possession after the tackle. Flanker Michelle "Taco Bell" Dunn served as an offensive spark with numerous pick and jams. However, Santa Barbara's eight-man and second rows were too strong of runners for the Dartmouth squad to stop. Midway through the second half Santa Barbara began a 4 try scoring spree, pinning Dartmouth in their defensive try zone and causing frustration among the players.
After the match the team took time to regroup and set goals for their meeting against Claremont College. Stronger tackling, better communication on defense, and more aggression were all main targets for practice and execution in the Claremont match.
Dartmouth 8 vs Claremont 7
It was a mild and sunny day at Claremont College as the Big Green prepared to kick off their third match of tour. The team was pumped and ready to go after reflecting on an unsavory loss at UCSB. Throughout the first half play was halted by both clubs' unsuccessful use of mauls. Messy line outs and wheeled scrums led to a relatively early Claremont try off of a fast breakaway. Rachel "foreman" Forman maintained possession in contact and tried to get Dartmouth into an offensive pattern, but the club's absorption on defense left them in their defensive try zone. Feeling the urgency of the defensive red zone, Julia "I like my $1 shirts" Jacobsen broke out for a 35 meter run to bring the ball closer to Dartmouth's offensive try zone where it would stay for much of the duration of the match. Still scoreless towards the end of the half, Kirsten "Tuesday is a feely day" Ahrendt successfully completed a penalty kick to put the Green on the board with a halftime score of 2-7. Over the break the team set goals to get the ball out clean and prevent penalties and lost line outs.
Both teams started off the second half with stronger kicking games. Dartmouth held their own until a series of penalties marched them up the field and back into their defensive zone. Improved communication between the forwards and backs kept the balls out of stagnant mauls and moving forward. After a half filled with offensive phases that ended just shy of scoring Emily "instructor" Luscz connected with Nannette " no spandex allowed" Cedeno in the corner to form an overload and give Dartmouth its only try of the match. Although the subsequent kick wasn't good, the try alone was enough to put the Green in the lead as they spent the last few minutes of the match maintaining strong defensive positioning. All in all, the match featured a returned focus to basics such as communication and teamwork that put the Dartmouth squad back in a winning position.
Dartmouth 21 vs Santa Monica 7
The DWRC hit the pitch on an overcast Saturday, riding a wave of excitement brought on by much fan support and its previous win. In the first five minutes, Kirsten "dance, dance revolution" Ahrendt broke away, was tackled and placed the ball down for what looked like a successful try. The official, however, ruled no try and the game continued scoreless. Numerous penalties were awarded to the Green in the first few minutes of the game and Dartmouth finally capitalized when Cristina "someone my own size" Duncan Evans scored off of a switch with Erin "I'm going to start my thesis today" Garnett following a quick tap. The following kick from Ahrendt was solid and Dartmouth found itself in the lead 7-0. About 10 minutes later Rachel Forman also took advantage of a Santa Monica penalty, running evasively up the middle to score the second try of the match. Towards the end of the first half Dartmouth was exhibiting more patience in the red zone and better communication and defense around the rucks.
In the second half, Julia "I like my $1 shirts" Jacobsen kept the offensive drive moving when she thwarted off no less than three Santa Monica defenders on her way to scoring under the uprights. A strong offensive push from Santa Monica left the Dartmouth club on its toes in its defensive try zone. Following two minutes worth of pressure and attacking the slippery Santa Monica scrumhalf finally broke through to score and put her club on the board. Her effort proved too little as Dartmouth maintained possession thanks to strong ball carrying by hooker Alyssa "sushidome" Caballero and overall tremendous play from the pack. 09's Mallory "man in uniform (in McDonald's )" McQueen and Michelle "Taco Bell" Dunn contributed strong tackling to the give the DWRC the defensive edge. Overall, the match was the culmination of the club's tour experience, as the player's proved individually and as a unit.