Norwich University reached the finals of the 2011 USA Rugby DII women’s Northeast RFU Saturday with a 58-0 win over Bowdoin.
Both teams came out strong, and Bowdoin seemed to control the ball and territory early on, but A turnover and counterattack from the Cadets sent sophomore fullback Joya Clark into space. Clark kicked ahead and was impeded near the goal-line by a Bowdoin defender. That resulted in a yellow card for the Bowdoin player and, eventually, a try from sophomore center and team leading scorer Jackie Derocher.
Just three minutes later, junior wing Adria Pickin caught up to an attacking kick from flyhalf Emily Baugus and raced in for the try. Five minutes later, Clark countered another kick to score the first of her three tries on the day.
Sophomore prop Baylee Annis did well to get in support of wing Andrea Vogt and score, and then Pickin and Derocher each added additional tries in the last few minutes of the first half.
Bowdoin clamped down a little better on defense in the second half, but Norwich ran away with it 58-0.
Junior lock Corinne McElroy added a try and Clark scored two more late. Meanwhile flyhalf Emily Baugus notched a drop goal and five conversions to cross 300 for her career at Norwich. She is two points from being Norwich’s all-time leading scorer.
"Bowdoin gave us a great match," said NU head coach Austin Hall. "We played the best rugby we've played all year in the first half. Tomorrow's the big day...playing Vassar on their home turf. We will bring everything we've got and look to enjoy our final 80 minutes of rugby in what has been a phenomenal season."
Vassar has a much tougher game of it, beating Rutgers 20-19. Wing O’Mara Taylor scored two tries and kicked a conversion and a penalty for the Brewers, while Dallas Robinson also added a try.
Rutgers battled on. With a tough pack and smart play from flyhalf, they gave Vassar all they could handle. Taylor score two tries in the first half to give her side a slim 10-7 lead at halftime.
But the Scarlet Knights came back to take the lead 14-10. Robinson’s try regained the lead for Vassar, but again Rutgers replied. Having beaten Vassar 24-22 earlier in the season the Knights looked to win another close one. They scored to make it 19-17 Rutgers with time winding down.
They pressed and when Rutger's passed the ball back from a 5-meter scrum to the in-goal, and then had the kick charged down, one felt that at the scrum they'd have their chance. But a 22-meter drop out was awarded and after a huge kick from the Rutger's flyhalf, Vassar was looking at a 50 meter stretch of field and very little time left.
But some smart work and good continuity from Vassar got them in Rutgers territory one more time and a penalty 30 meters out, that Taylor slotted easily just before the whistle went.
Vassar takes on Norwich at Vassar College noon Sunday.