New England has concluded its first round of playoffs, and for four women’s DII colleges, the post-season lives on. Moving onto the semifinal are: Norwich 87-0 Colby, Bowdoin 44-5 New Hampshire, Coast Guard Academy 29-12 Tufts, Rhode Island 61-0 Middlebury.
Biggest point differential occurred at the hands of Norwich, which RugbyMag.com has recently rated as the country’s best DII college. The first 10 minutes were the most competitive, as Colby held up a couple of Norwich attempts at the try line, and some cadet knock-ons slowed down the ball. But once flyhalf Joya Clark broke the silence with the first of her three tries, the scoreboard didn’t get a break the rest of the day. Fullback Rose Bernheim tacked on another two tries to bring her league-leading total to 15, while center Vanessa Champagne, scrumhalf Emily Oor and wing Andrea Vogt contributed to the 38-0 halftime lead.
The forwards joined the scoring action in the second half and saw tries from while prop Christine Aye, Derocher, flanker Marlene Dwyer, No. 8 Katie Hathaway, flanker cum wing Ferne Ryder and center Jackie Drerocher and also contributed a five-pointer.
Flanker Emily Baugus led her teammates with 22 points, slotting eight of 13 conversions and two penalties.
“The first ten minutes of the match were difficult to watch,” said Norwich coach Austin Hall. “Between our knock-ons and the inspired Colby play, we didn’t get much out of the first 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.”
Norwich should win the NERFU title, and the cadets’ most likely opponent is East-West conference champion Bowdoin, who also went 5-0 on the season.
Co-captain Katie Mathews lit up the scoreboard with an early try, and then Dani McAvoy put Anita Shah into a hole for the second score, which Randi London converted for the 12-0 lead. Bowdoin took a 22-0 halftime lead when London made good on a long breakaway and Anissa Tanksley scored off a five-meter ruck.
London kept her team’s momentum heading in the right direction when she scored the second of her two tries early in the second half. Fullback Kerry Townsend matched London’s try count with two second-half five-pointers of her own, and Helen White added the final points after chasing down a perfectly executed kick-ahead from flyhalf Mathews.
The Polar Bears host this weekend’s NERFU semifinals, and should see Norwich in the championship match. Semifinals will be played Saturday at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. in Brunswick, Maine.
The Bowdoin College women's rugby team never trailed in a 44-5 win over the University of New Hampshire in a New England Rugby Football Union Division II playoff match Saturday at Pickard Field.
With the win, the Polar Bears advance to the New England Division II Championship Tournament that they will host next Saturday and Sunday, October 29-30. Semifinal matches will be played at 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Saturday. Match-ups will be announced on Sunday.