Women's Rugby: Norwich edges AIC 28-22 in thriller

Amber Kelly women's rugby vs. AIC

NORTHFIELD, Vt. - Senior center Sheila Decker (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) connected on two difficult penalty kicks in the final 15 minutes to break a 22-all tie and lift the Norwich University women's rugby team to its first win over American International College (AIC) since 2015 on Saturday morning.

Decker connected on her second of three successful penalty kicks in the 73rd minute, driving the ball from 35 yards out into the wind and through the uprights to give Norwich the lead for good with a 25-22 lead. She added another in the 75th minute to increase the lead to 28-22 and then the Cadets held on to the final horn to secure their first win of the season.

Norwich built up a 12-0 lead in the first half with a pair of tries from its bruising powerful prop Amber Kelly (Colorado Springs, Colo.). Decker hit one of two conversions after Kelly's tries to account for the Cadets' scoring.

AIC came battling back with two tries of their own to cut the deficit to 12-10. Norwich regained momentum heading into halftime with Reagan Aldersea (Schertz, Texas) touching down for a try and following a successful conversion from Decker made it 19-10 Cadets.

AIC scored first in the second half to cut the deficit to 19-15. Decker hit her first penalty kick of the game to push the lead to 22-15. AIC scored again with a converted try to tie the game up at 22-22 with 15 minutes left in the second half.

"I'm really proud of the way our team battled all game for 80 minutes," said NU head coach Austin Hall. "This was one of the more memorable games in program history in recent memory and it's a big win for us to beat a team we haven't beat in awhile."

Norwich will look to carry the momentum (1-1, 1-1 NIRA T1) next weekend when it travels to Univ. of New England for a 11 a.m. kickoff vs. the Nor'Easters. The Cadets improved to 7-3 all-time vs. AIC with the win.