Stanford Women’s Rugby met the University of Virginia in the elite 8 on a blustery Saturday afternoon. Weather girl and powerhouse, Ono Nseyo, forewarned her teammates of these conditions, and Stanford prepared by practicing in a wind tunnel two days prior. Luckily, standout fullback Jessica Watkins did not blow away. Stanford had edged by UVA in the 2006 national tournament, but this time they trounced UVA 58-5. Scoring was lead by Watkins, referred to by her opponents and her support alike as “the fastest kid alive.” Ramine Cromartie’s kindhearted nature did not stop her from mercilessly increasing the Stanford lead with two more tries. The ever-so powerful Susan Dekker drove the ball in for one try. Despite the decisive victory, Stanford had some difficulty with ball retention and coach, Jonathan Griffindor, was not shy in voicing his frustration. Stanford will meet the Navy goats in the Final Four on Friday, May 2nd at 1 pm.
Stanford continued on its quest toward a National Title, as the USA National Collegiate playoffs began on Friday, April 18, at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Cardinal began its Round of 16 play facing a very athletic University of Northern Iowa team.
Though outweighed, the Stanford scrum did a magnificent job to dominate and win the ball. This great play on the front end, coupled with the quickness and agility of the back line, helped Stanford post a 57-0 score at halftime. The Panthers were able to score off a scrum set deep in Stanford territory with 15 minutes remaining in the game, but the fast tempo style of the Stanford Women was no match for NIU. Chris Skieller, Jennifer Cooperider and Ramine Cromartie ended the day with a try a piece. Ono Nseyo and Jessica Watkins combined to earn another 10 tries, most of which came from long breakaways. In addition to a try of her own, Melissa Smit was 12-for-13 on kick conversions.
With the win today, Stanford advances to the Championship bracket in their pool.
In the second game of Pacific Coast playoffs, Stanford took on UC Davis. Stanford lost to the Aggies in the last league game of the season, and it was evident that Davis would use the same tactics to attempt another victory. Davis exhibited excellent kicking and aggressive defense, but it was no match for the strength of Stanford’s pack and speed of the back line. Stanford got off to an impressive start when center Melissa Smit broke the defensive line to run for a try. Stanford continued to show prowess on offense with tries scored by Ono Nseyo, and two tries by Jessica Watkins. Stanford also displayed an excellent defensive effort, which was anchored by the forwards. However, the pack did not only work hard without the ball, they also produced results on offense, as Erin Kobashigawa and Diana Peng were able to run for tries. Smit also converted three of the tries with kicks, shutting out Davis to secure a Stanford victory.
Wing Ramine Cromartie didn’t let hand surgery keep her from poaching Davis’ ball
(Photo by Dobson Images)
With the win, Stanford gained a berth in the Sweet 16 playoff tournament in Albuquerque, New Mexico.