Women's rugby bounced back from their April 20 loss to Kenyon by winning two out of three games in the Ohio Classic Rugby Tournament and taking fifth place overall on a field of 10 collegiate teams.
"We played 10 times better than the week prior," assistant coach Jim O'Keefe said.
"We didn't expect to do that well at all," coach Leisl Strickler said. "I'm thrilled with how we did."
The Rhino Ruggers first played and defeated the University of Dayton in sudden-death overtime, winning 10-5. "The team played extremely well," Strickler said, adding that the referee approached her after the game to comment on how well they played.
The Ruggers then went on to suffer a 36-0 loss to the more experienced Ohio University. After that pounding, however, the Ruggers struck back the next day and beat Hiram 15-5.
Though Hiram scored immediately upon taking the field, Oberlin held them scoreless for the rest of the game.
"The team played pretty sloppy for the first 10 to 15 minutes," Strickler said. "After [Hiram] scored, they pulled together."
Players cited intimidation as the key to the weekend's wins; that, and suffering a 36-0 loss to the more-experienced Ohio University.
The Rugger's game plan, O'Keefe said, was to "totally intimidate the other teams" - a plan that proved most successful against Hiram. O'Keefe said, "Hiram was scared shitless by the end of the game . . . They didn't want to play anymore."
Dana Loeb, a sophomore, said, "We intimidated the hell out of Hiram."
Sophomore Tinesha McCord started the scoring off with a run up the sidelines past Hiram's defenders. Her try was followed by Loeb's, who dove on a loose ball in the endzone. "It wasn't a glorious try, but that's okay," Loeb said.
Sophomore Chris Boehm also scored, on a pass from junior Helen Barnes, who picked up a breakaway and ran head-on into Hiram's defenders. Six to eight meters from the endzone, Barnes handed the ball off to Boehm, who plowed through three defenders and fell down in the endzone.
Barnes and Boehm both play in the scrum, positions which rarely score. "We were driving so hard," Loeb said, "that the scrum was able to drive in and touch it down."
But it was the loss to Ohio that helped the team become a more aggressive unit and dominate all but the beginning of the Hiram contest. Boehm said, "The loss to Ohio was not that bad. It was a good learning experience." Boehm said that during the Ohio game she tried to catch on to what Ohio was doing successfully, and prevent them from doing those things again. "I think we all learned from it," she said.
Loeb agreed. "Playing Ohio helped us become more aggressive."
Strickler attributed the loss to Ohio to her young team's lack of experience. She said Ohio is an older team with a lot more experience, and that their win was "a matter of experience, rather than skill."
On Sunday, the Ruggers take on Michigan State University.
Sending it back: The ball is taken out of a maul to give it to the backline (photo by Heather Iram)
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 124, Number 23; May 3, 1996
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