Monthly Archives: May 2007

Stanford 21, Penn State 22

“It was the one game where we were disconnected. You get one a year and unfortunately it was in the final.”

“Disconnected” is how head Coach Jonathan Griffin characterized Stanford’s performance in the 2007 USA Rugby Collegiate National Championship. And it is true, Stanford’s team stepped onto the field a bit nervous in their re-match with rival Penn State. With several key players just returning from injury or still on the sidelines, Stanford’s roster had seen many changes in the past weeks and months. But the squad as a whole and many younger players had stepped up to play at a higher level, proving their prowess in the games leading up to the final. However, on that Sunday, something within the team just didn’t click and Stanford was unable to perform.

Penn State, a most worthy adversary who had been training extremely hard all year for this moment, took advantage of Stanford’s hesitance to pound down the sides of breakdowns and scrums with their larger forwards, scoring two early tries. Stanford was disjointed and flustered, and Penn State ended the first half on top, 17-0. Even well into the second half, the Stanford team couldn’t get its head straight, and with 10 minutes to go Penn State was leading 22-0.

Then suddenly something clicked with the Stanford team, and what was at stake finally sunk in. Power flankers Crista Mendoza and Diana Peng made a break down the left side of the field, gathering momentum despite the knock on that resulted. Wing Carey Myslewski and center Olivia Anglade built on the momentum, stringing together two tries within minutes.

Wing Carey Myslewski evading a defender (Photo by Dobson Images)

Center Melissa Smit made both conversions, including one amazing kick from the touchline. With seconds to go, fullback Jessica Watkins brought the ball in for another try under the posts, and Smit reliably converted. With one more minute, Stanford might yet have ended the game on top. But they had waited too long, and their time was up. Penn State ended the day victorious, 22-21.

Melissa Smit’s kicking prowess earned 6 points for Stanford (Photo by Dobson Images)

View pictures of the game at Dobson Images & Numina Photos.

Stanford 45, UC Davis 10

Stanford came flying out of the gates in their Final Four game vs. UC Davis at Steuber Stadium, their home pitch and this year’s host to the 2007 USA Rugby National Collegiate Championships. Stanford had convincingly beaten the UC Davis team 46-0 during regular season play, but they knew that Davis had fought hard to get to the Final Four and would be a formidable opponent. Mentally prepared for the game, Stanford dominated the first half, scoring 33 points and allowing no Davis tries. Stanford’s pack dominated the set piece through the leadership of the loose forwards, notably pack leader and 8-man Erin Kobashigawa and the rookie lineout dynamo Kelsey Moss. Tries were scored by center Olivia Anglade (2), wing Ono Nseyo, fullback Jessica Watkins, and lock Jennifer Hernandez. Conversions were, as always, reliably made by flyhalf/center Melissa Smit. Also notably, flyhalf and erstwhile team captain Jossy Tseng made her first appearance since her jaw was broken in Stanford’s match versus Chico State in March.

Lock Jennifer Hernandez takes the ball with lots of forward support
(Photo by Dobson Images)

In the second half, however, Stanford relented and allowed two UC Davis tries, while raising their own tally to 45. The UC Davis Aggies battled hard throughout the match, led by flyhalf and team captain Cameron Stewart, and showed the nation that there are now several Pacific Coast teams to be reckoned with. Stanford finished the match victorious, but not completely satisfied because of their second half performance.

View pictures of the game at Dobson Images & Numina Photos.

Stanford in the Final Four!

Stanford Women’s Rugby is in the 2007 USA Rugby Collegiate Final Four! The competition will be on Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May 5 at Steuber Family Rugby Stadium. Start getting excited as we compete for our third consecutive national title, and check out this promotional video by team PR manager Jenny Hernandez.

2007 Team Photo

The schedule of matches is as follows:

Friday, May 4
11:00 am: Division I Women’s Semi Final (Stanford vs. UC Davis)
1:00 pm: Division I Women’s Semi Final (University of New Mexico vs. Penn State)
3:00 pm: Division I Men’s Semi Final (Cal vs. Navy)
5:00 pm: Division I Men’s Semi Final (Penn State vs. BYU)

Saturday, May 5
11:00 am: Division II Women’s Championship (UC Santa Cruz vs. Iowa State University)
1:00 pm: Division II Men’s Championship (Arkansas State vs. Middlebury College)
3:00 pm: Division I Women’s Championship (TBD)
5:00 pm: Division I Men’s Championship (TBD)