The RPI women’s rugby team demolished Siena 37-14 last Thursday, October 10, improving their record to 3-1 with two games left in the season.
The Engineers started strong and stayed dominant. Minutes into the game, freshman wing Jackie Walton scored RPI’s first try, giving the team a 5-0 lead. Junior captain Tierney Morton scored shortly after, using her strong running skills to break through the Siena defensive line. Siena answered with a try of their own, which they successfully converted, bringing the score to 10-7 RPI. This was the closest the score would be for the rest of the game, as the Engineers proceeded to score two unanswered tries by senior captain Jane Braun and junior lock Isabelle Johnson. The Engineers ended the half with a comfortable 20-7 lead.
RPI continued to flourish, with 8-man Morton scoring Rensselaer’s first try of the second half. Siena responded with a strong offensive drive that led them to be within the RPI 20-meter line for 10 minutes. The Engineer defense held strong, however, and stopped Siena ball carriers no fewer than three times, denying them an opportunity to score.
Shortly after the Engineers drove Siena back into their own territory, sophomore Barbara Padilla scored for RPI. The try was successfully converted by Morton. Siena recovered quickly, bringing the ball back into RPI’s end and scoring their second and final try of the night, which was also successfully converted. Rensselaer wasn’t done though. Morton scored the Engineers’ last try, bringing the final score to 37-14 and securing herself a hat-trick.
RPI’s powerful open field play was the key to their success in this game, with the forwards dominating possession of the ball through strong rucking skills. Most of the time that Siena got the ball, RPI was able to successfully turn it over. Rucking this strong has traditionally been one of the strengths of RPI women’s rugby and the current team is certainly not an exception!
The strength of the forwards worked beautifully in tandem with the agility and speed of the backs, which was a huge factor in the success of the team. Coach Andy McDonnell said after the game: “I believe that it [was] the most complete match I have ever seen RPI Women’s Rugby play… As a team I believe we really came together as a unit.”
This was the last home game of the season for RPI women’s rugby, and as such they paid tribute to the seniors that will be graduating this year. Kate McGuire, Arielle Etoffe, Braun, Lynnette Lacek, Caitlyn “Texas” Buck, and Jodi Han are all invaluable members of the team that will be missed.
Rensselaer still has two more games left in the regular season, both away. This Saturday, Octobor 18, they play the State University of New York Oneonta, and play SUNY Cortland on Saturday, October 25. In order to place second in the Excelsior conference and thus qualify for the American Collegiate Rugby Association playoffs, the Engineers need to win both games.