Monthly Archives: February 2013

Stanford struggles against Chico but remains undefeated

This was not the greatest performance for Stanford Women’s Rugby. The team struggled to capitalize on penalities and line break opportunities as lack of support led to several poached balls. It wasn’t until 17 minutes into the game when Caitlin Breen ’13 made a great kick into space just off a scrum, and a quick chase by Aly Gleason ’13 led to the game’s first try. Stanford held the momementum as Michelle Batlle ’13 scored the game’s second try, but handling errors, disconnect on the launch and a penalty for not releasing gave Chico a chance to kick for points. First half ended with Stanford up, 10 – 3.

At the start of the second half, aggressive launches on defense and quick clear outs by support led to another try starting from a line break by Gleason to a phenomenal offload to Jamie Lawrence ’13 who grounded it in the corner of the try zone. For the rest of the game, Stanford struggled to get the ball out of their half. Several penalties and a missed tackle led to Chico’s first try of the game. A stolen defensive scrum in Chico’s half created a try opportunity taken by a pick of the scrum by Breen then a pass to Smriti Sridhar ’15, coming on with great pace. That was the last try for the Cardinal, as the rest of the game saw lost possessions, diving into the ruck and several handling errors. The game ended 20 – 18. Chico exposed several weak spots that Stanford looks to strengthen, but the Cardinal remain undefeated.

Stanford vs. Chico State
Final Score: 20 – 18 (win)
Tries scored by:
-Aly Gleason ’13
-Michelle Batlle ’13
-Jamie Lawrence ’13
-Smriti Sridhar ’15

Beavers and Ducks are no match for the Cardinal

Stanford Women’s Rugby defeated both Oregon State and Oregon this past weekend.

On Saturday, Oregon State’s forwards were no match for the Cardinal pack. Although there were several knock-ons by Stanford, the Cardinal forward pack trucked the first few OSU scrums, resulting in slow balls if not turn overs to Stanford. With more work within the tight five, this will soon be said of every scrum of every game. During phase play, Stanford were dominant in contact – the focus area for the past two weeks of practice. Players broke several tackles running at pace, created offload opportunities by getting beyond defenders, and added significant physicality when they joined rucks with low body height. However as the number of phases increased between stoppages, a noticeable lack of numbers in the ruck occured. Forwards look to increasing efficiency in rucks by working in pods. Even so, Oregon State trailed soundly behind at halftime. The momentum of the first half only escalated in the second half as Stanford put up several more tries, finishing with a definitive win of 79 – 14.

Sunday’s game against Oregon had a much different pace as several more players were given game time experience. Stanford took longer to gain momentum as previous struggles in contact, such as fewer support players, high body height and reaching tackles, reappeared. Oregon was able to force several turn overs in rucks then gain territory through kicks and a speedy fullback or hard runs near the ruck by the number 8. Stanford was able to regain possession and execute plays, resulting to a 45 – 3 lead at halftime. But as more starting players left the field, the momentum dropped substantially. Stanford’s defensive line stopped launching, connection among the players was lost, along with possession of the ball. Oregon went off on a scoring streak that narrowed the game 45 – 34. For the last five minutes, Stanford’s defense was able to hold off Oregon long enough to end the game.

Teo Breaking same Tackle vs OSU

Michelle Teo ’14, now playing inside center, continues to make exceptional plays as she did at wing. Having played all positions in the backline, Teo shares her insight of where backs can look to improve.

“Overall, our backs did a great job running hard lines onto the ball and when we executed our plays with early decisions and crisp handling, they worked very well! As the season continues, I’d definitely like to have the backs improve on our level of consistency of play. There’s always room for improvement — earlier communication, urgency to re-align with width and depth, ball handling and taking care of the ball in contact. We have many athletic players in our back line and, with more practice and precision, we can only get better!”
After the game, Stanford presented Oregon with two “Player of the Match” awards given to their fullback and eightman. Oregon presented their “Player of the Match” awards to Michelle Batlle ’13, at hooker, and Sara Maurer ’16, at fullback.

This puts Stanford at 3 – 0 for the season. Coming up, Stanford’s next conference game will be against Chico State this Saturday, February 23. Kickoff is at 1pm at Steuber Field, followed by the Crawford match at 2:30pm, then a BBQ for Parents’ Weekend.

Stanford vs. Oregon State
Final Score: 79 – 14 (win)
Tries scored by:
-Smriti Sridhar ’15 (2)
-Michelle Teo ’14 (2)
-Aly Gleason ’13 (2)
-Lai Turn ’13 (2)
-Jamie Lawrence ’13 (2)
-Sara Maurer ’16 (2)
-Tia Watkins ’15
Conversions made by:
-Aly Gleason (5)
-Nikki Richardson ’15 (2)

Stanford vs. Oregon
Final Score: 45 – 34 (win)
Tries scored by:
-Aly Gleason (5)
-Sara Maurer (2)
Conversions made by:
-Aly Gleason (5)

Stanford takes win against Santa Clara

Blanche Jemima Double Tackle - Santa Clara

Blanche Du Sault ’15 and Jemima Oso ’16 execute an exemplary double tackle that drives Santa Clara behind the gainline.

The Santa Clara game allowed for many more players to gain game time experience. The game was a definite challenge at first as Santa Clara fought for a narrow lead at halftime by 15 points to Stanford’s 12. But the Cardinal picked up with quick clear outs, pace onto the ball, and great support lines and offloads that led to five tries in the second half. The game ended with a 37-22 win for Stanford.

Crawford captain, Stehpanie Navarrro ’15, brought significant leadership to the forward pack throughout phase play. Her hard offensive lines repeatedly drove back Santa Clara’s defense.

“Last year I walked into a sport that I knew nothing about and that was completely out of my element. I learned a lot, not only about the game itself, but also about how to work as a team and how to accomplish common goals through teamwork. Whether clearing out rucks or keeping our team’s spirits high and redirecting our focus throughout the game, so much of my experience last year as a rookie has been vitally important to helping me as a player and a leader on the field this year.
“During the Santa Clara game our team showed some great improvement, and the trend of upward growth continued throughout the 80 minutes. Our defensive launch was looking great throughout the game, but there is definitely still room for improvement in our contact skills, tracking the offense and completing tackles. In addition, we had some great offensive moments, with players running hard lines onto the ball and with good support; yet, we can definitely look to work on our skills taking the ball into contact with a low body height and the ball securely tucked.” – Navarro
Rookie flanker, Lai Turn ’15, had an outstanding performances breaking through Santa Clara’s defense in multiple runs and completing those breaks with successful offloads that led to tries for the Cardinal.

“Being a rookie, I was a little more nervous than usual not having some of our more experienced players playing with us in the Santa Clara game. It was definitely more fun though because I was seeing light bulbs click in a lot of rookies’ heads during the game, including my own! (Hehe) I think our speed helped us win the game. I don’t think they expected us to be that fast. It wasn’t as nerve wracking as the cal game because it wasn’t a conference game, and it gave us the chance to get more experience playing and handling the ball.” – Turn
Coming up, Stanford has a big rugby weekend next starting Saturday, February 16, as it faces Oregon State for the next conference game and Oregon the following day.

Sara Line Break - Santa Clara

Sara Maurer ’16 breaks through Santa Clara’s defense on a run that scores Stanford’s final try of the game.

Stanford vs. Santa Clara
Final Score: 37 – 22 (win)
Tries scored by:
-Sara Maura ’16 (2)
-Kelly LaBuff ’14
-Sasha Herbst de Cortina ’15 (3)
-Mia Hutchinson ’16
Conversion made by: Kelly LaBuff ’14