Scorelines don’t always tell the story of the game. Women's Cougar Rugby defeated a fiesty Navy team 7-0 during today’s Women’s DI College Championship quarterfinals, but WCR coach Tom Waqa felt the score was a bit misleading.
"It was a very tough game, and our girls left it all out on the field," Waqa said. "Navy is a good team and they came to play, but we wanted it more. We dominated every aspect of the game, and played in Navy's half a lot. We should have scored more, but the weather conditions didn't help. We'll take the win, though, and use the victory going forward."
Both sides came out with a specific game plan to neutralize the other's strengths. Navy did a good job of shutting down WCR's ultra potent backline, while the Cougars focused on turning over the ball and answering the Midshipmen's physical forwards.
"The girls stuck to the game plan and defended the fringes very well," Waqa said. "Credit goes to the forwards, who created turnovers in the set pieces and drove Navy's scrum off the ball - even in the last 10 minutes when we were down to seven in the scrum."
Although WCR struggled to consistency and finishing scoring opportunities, inside center Kristi Jackson rose to the challenge of Navy's pressure, and accounted for the game's only try, which Star Bollinger converted.
"It was a perfectly executed play that began from midfield scrum," Waqa said. "She broke the line and did the rest herself. In my opinion, Kristi is the best inside center in the nation."
As mentioned, Navy had an opportunity to capitalize on Cougar yellow card with 10 minutes remaining, but WCR's defense rose to the task, and kept Navy off the scoreboard.
"I'm so proud of the girls," Waqa said. "This was a game that needed to be appreciated on television - two high quality teams playing with a lot of heart.
"We've only been allowed to compete for the championship in the last three years, and after last year's forfeit, today's win was emotional," Waqa said. "This is the first time our program has advanced to the final four. Morale is very high."
Looking ahead to Army, the team's Final Four opponent, Waqa ensures that the team won't be taking the team for granted and we'll treat them as the good team they are.
"We've seen everything, but we're not underestimating anyone," Waqa said. "We've withstood everything, and I can promise you that we'll come out and play."