NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich Women's Rugby team advanced to the NERFU semifinals Oct. 23 with a monster 87-0 defeat over eighth-seed Colby. The Cadets, who were just this week ranked #1 in the nation by RugbyMag.com, found scoring from 11 different players on the day and showed the depth of their attacking arsenal.
The Colby White Mules showed well for the first 10 minutes of the match, stuffing Norwich on their first attempts at scoring. Some early knock-ons and poor handling from Norwich kept the ball in the scrum for the opening phases of play. At the 10 minute mark, sophomore flyhalf Joya Clark broke through the Colby defense for the opening try. Clark went on to score two more tries on the day.
Sophomore fullback Rose Bernheim played another outstanding match, coming up from her backfield position on a number of attacking runs to find the try zone twice. On her second try, it seemed as though Colby had Norwich pinned and was nearing a try of their own. After Norwich turned over possession, Bernheim raced 95 meters to score. With her 14th and 15th try on the season, Bernheim not only leads NERFU in try scoring, butshe leads the Cadets in total points.
Also scoring 1st half tries were junior wing Andrea Vogt, freshman scrum-half Emily Oor, and slippery freshman center Vanessa Champagne who has joined the Cadets in a big way this year with great gap running and elusiveness nearing contact.
In the second half the Norwich forwards broke loose. Junior prop Christine Aye scored a try in the first minute after a successful counter to the Colby kick-off. This marks Aye's second try in two matches. Minutes later, senior flanker Marlene Dwyer scored down the center from great line-out ball. Dwyer, who throws in at the line, worked with the forwards to secure a professional executed line-out that made its way through the backfield hands and into attacking territory. The ball then worked its way back inside to Dwyer who scored one of her patented dive and reach tries in contact.
With junior flanker Emily Baugus converting on 8 of 13 conversions and 2 of 2 penalty kicks for a game leading 22 points, the match was finalized at 87-0.
"The first ten minutes of the match were difficult to watch," said NU coach Austin Hall. "Between our knock-ons and the inspired Colby play, we didn't get much out of the 1st 10 minutes. I think that once Joya got in the try zone, we started to realize our potential in the match and turned up our performance from there. The second half was some of the best rugby we've played all year."
Conversions: Baugus 8/13