Part two of the 07-08 women’s rugby campaign started off right where the girls left off in the fall, with a win in front of their home crowd Saturday afternoon over North Carolina University. Although the Tar Heels only ended up a try and conversion away in the 24-17 contest, the Rams took their victory in dominating fashion. West Chester jumped out to an early lead in the competition with a score from Beverly Schmitz, but the conversion by Whitney Hartshore was unsuccessful, making the score 5-0. The Tar Heels came back later with a try and missed conversion, tying the score up at five.
West Chester broke the tie late in the first half with two crucial trys. The first came from Junior Erin Furlong, which was her first career try.
“It was awesome,” Furlong said. “I saw that try line when Katy Black passed it to me and I knew it was mine.”
Nine minutes later, Laura Meier added another try, which was her first ever try as well. Senior Steph Burkhart converted the try to make the lead 17-5 going into the half. Senior Whitney Hartshore is the Rams usual converter, but injured her ankle early on in the first half.
This was a big blow to the team, as Hartshore is one of WCU’s top players, but it is thought to be only a minor sprain. She is expected back no later then after spring break, so she will definitely be there for the first playoff game against JMU.
Twenty-eight minutes into the second half, the Tar Heels scored again, this time converting it, to come within five points of WCU. But Burkhart struck again, this time with a try and conversion at seventy-four minutes, to extend the lead to twelve. This also gave her nine total points for the game.
With two minutes left in the game, North Carolina made one last attempt, scoring a try, but were unable to come all the way back, coming up seven points short.
“It was pretty good overall,” senior hooker/flanker Susan Dake stated after the game. “We just need to pull everything together and work on our rucks, and we should be good.”
For those not familiar with the rugby terminology, a ruck is when the team comes together in the center around the ball in a huddle format, and passes the ball back to the back seven.
The Lady Rams now have a three-week break. Their next game is Saturday, March 22, against James Madison University. This game is the first playoff game, and a win in it guarantees the Rams a spot in the USA National Rugby Tournament.
Ryan Frisco is a first-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at RF648257@wcupa.edu.