Two Stanford women, sophomore Jessica Watkins and senior Melissa Smit, are returning this week from a tour with the USA Rugby 7′s Developmental Squad in Nassau, Bahamas. The team competed at the 2007 North America West Indies Rugby Association (NAWIRA) Sevens Tournament, where they took second place after the Canadian squad. Both Stanford players made an impact for the USA side, with center Melissa Smit taking a crack at propping and wing Jessica Watkins leading the squad in tries, scoring nine times over the course of the tournament.
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It was a great day for rugby on Saturday when Stanford faced the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs. Santa Cruz put up a tough challenge for Stanford with their physical play, scoring a try off a five-meter scrum and another off a run from their very mobile #1. Stanford also scored twice twice in the first half, with a wide run over the line by flyhalf Jossy Tseng and a zig-zagging run down the center by freshman wing Mara Stark-Alcala.
In the second half Santa Cruz maintained pressure and scored twice, including another try set up from a run by their #1 after a penalty. While still not entirely switched into the game, Stanford did manage to pick up a bit of momentum and scored four tries in the second half. Credit goes to Stanford captain and 8-man Erin Kobashigawa for leading the forwards throughout the tough physical play, flyhalf Jocelyn Tseng for making several key breaks, and rookie Maya White for leadership in the lineouts.
The Stanford Women’s Rugby team kicked off vs. Saint Mary’s Saturday on their home field and made a strong statement with a sound, 45-0 victory. Saint Mary’s carried the ball for the majority of the first half and forced the Stanford women to spend the opening of the game playing some tenacious defense. Nevertheless, the Cardinal women held strong and refused to let Saint Mary’s cross their try line. Sophomore 8-man Kelsey Moss made a break off a savvy pass from flanker Crista Mendoza early on and sped forward to score the first try of the game. Flanker Ono Nseyo made an incredibly athletic run to score another five for Stanford and center Jessica Watkins also proved her unbelievable speed for an additional first half try.
After the half the girls came out with new intensity and scored 4 more tries, keeping Saint Mary’s on the defensive end. Nseyo and Watkins both scored once more each, and senior flyhalf Jossy Tseng also made a great push to score as well. Late in the second half, the girls were about 10 meters away from the touch line and off a stellar line-out catch by Moss, Tseng faked a wide attack and instead passed a short pass to fellow senior, Rachel Danford who smashed through Saint Mary’s line of defense and with a little extra push from forwards Victoria Whittaker, Kelsey Moss and Heather Hernandez. Tseng successfully kicked 5 conversions for 10 extra points throughout the match as well, substantially contributing to the overall 45-0 tally.