Monthly Archives: May 2008

Stanford 15, Penn State 10

Saturday the 3rd of May was the day of the USA Rugby National Guard Division I Championship Match between Stanford University and Penn State. The day was sunny, with winds blowing southwards- the work rate was up, and all players were rewarded with sweat-soaked faces. Both teams had the national title at stake, and both teams delivered hard hits and fast-paced ball handling. But, in the end, Stanford won out.

The first half opened with a battle for territory, as the teams adjusted to each other’s style of play. Stanford showed that they could quell the pick-and-gos from the Penn State forwards. Penn State showed that Stanford could not win primarily on sending the ball wide, and that any ruck not cleared out properly meant a lost ball. Yet, after many minutes of struggle, Jessica Watkins dived in for the first try in the corner. Later, from under the arms of at least three Penn State players, Jossy Tseng upped the score to 10-0 with a try beneath the posts.

Jessica Watkins and Jossy Tseng diving for the try.
(Photos by Stanford Athletics)

While these glory riders put two and two together to lead the game with a double try score, many other players showed strength and agility that proved to be key in possessing and moving the ball. Particularly notable was the pack of eight, who clearly dominated the scrums and line outs. Many a Penn State ball was thrown in to the eager hands of flanker Kelsey Moss, and hooker Diana Peng likewise laced her hands with Stanford’s own ball. The high lifting of lock Kira Greco and prop Rachel Danford, as well as the slightly lower lifting of prop Susan Dekker was much appreciated.

Susan Dekker and Rachel Danford give Kelsey Moss the height she needs to win the lineout.
(Photo by Dobson Images)

In the scrums, the set piece moves of 8-man Erin Kobashigawa and flanker Crista Mendoza were key in taking Stanford’s direction to a whole new level. And then there is Victoria Whittaker- a running and ball-stealing genius- what a lock.

1 – Many senior forwards used their experience wisely to win scrums.
2 – Flanker Crista Mendoza was critical in shutting down their backrow.
(Photos by Stanford Athletics)

We mustn’t forgot the second half, though. Coming in from halftime, Penn State quelled Stanford’s attempts to raise the score, while putting in two trys of their own. Still, Stanford held their own. Ramine Cromartie caught some key balls, and Ono Nseyo made some big hits despite the fact that her heel was fractured! Dummy lines from Jennifer Cooperrider were no joke, and Maya White’s entry into the game rekindled Stanford’s agression in defensive channels around the breakdown.

Diana Peng and Maya White display tenacity on defense.
(Photo by Dobson Images)

Yet, as time ran out, the playing field was even, with a score of 10-10 on the board haunting the eyes of all those present. Each team experienced time in their own defensive 22′s, but some knock-ons from Penn State and a monster stolen line-out gave Stanford the advantage. Some brilliant runs from Lindsey Innes put Penn State in their own territory, with Stanford in possession of the ball. And then the last play. With no time left. Melissa Smit gets the ball and throws a long pass- Jessica Watkins skitters through the side and touches down! Try for Stanford! And that was the game! Stanford reclaimed the name. 15-10. There is a time for friends and a time for teams and a time for trys. That second was all. One team, one heart…..

One team, one heart.
(Photo by Stanford Athletics)

More pictures of the match and news articles are available from:
Dobson Images [pg 1, pg 2, pg 3]
Stanford Athletics
Numina Photo
Grant Dekker
San Francisco Chronicle
Palo Alto Online
Redwood City Daily News

Stanford 40, Navy 20

Stanford came out today to face the Navy Goats, who had bested Texas A&M to make it to the USA Rugby National Guard Collegiate Club Championships at Stanford. The first half got off to a slow start with lots of close forward play and multiple penalties and other infractions slowing the pace of the game. Navy notched the first points as they kicked from a penalty after spending several minutes in Stanford’s 22, unsuccessfully trying to punch it in for a try. Minutes later, Stanford answered with a try from freshman center Jennifer Cooperrider. The slow pace of play continued, but Stanford fullback Jessica Watkins managed to bring in another try in the corner before the halftime whistle blew. The score was 12-3 at the half.

The second half began with back and forth play, as Navy scored twice to take the lead at 15-12. Stanford answered with a try as fullback Jessica Watkins took the ball around the outside and won in a foot race against Navy’s back 3. Watkins notched another try, and with successful conversions from flyhalf Melissa Smit, Stanford took the lead again with a score of 26-15. Navy dove on a dropped ball in the Stanford try zone for another try, but missed the conversion to bring their tally up to 20. Stanford held them at that for the rest of the game, finally kicking into gear and getting the ball to Watkins for two more tries. Tight head prop Rachel Danford capped the game off as she broke Navy’s midfield defense and brought the ball in for a try in the center. Smit was good for all of the conversions in the second half, including some spectacular kicks from near touch, bringing the final score to 40-20.

Stanford will face perennial rivals Penn State in the title match tomorrow, May 3, at 3pm at Stanford’s Steuber Stadium.

Stanford in Collegiate Championships!

Come watch Stanford Women’s Rugby as we work to reclaim our National Championship title.

Stanford will take on the Navy Goats on Friday, May 2, at 1pm. The championship game will take place on Saturday, May 3, at 3pm against the Penn State Nittany Lions or the Brown University Bears. All games will take place at Stanford’s Steuber Stadium.

Get pumped up and watch this promotional video by team PR guru, Ono Nseyo.


The 2008 Stanford Women’s Rugby Championship Squad