Stanford finished off the Pacific Mountain Conference Playoffs with another victory, finishing 2-0 in the Playoffs, and earning a birth in USA Rugby’s National Championship Tournament. Riding the momentum from their strong performance the day before, a young Stanford team, that included nine freshman and sophomores in the starting fifteen, stood up well to a strong and physical Washington State side. While the day would have it’s challenges, Stanford would eventually earn a hard fought 41-22 victory over the Cougars.
Despite applying significant early pressure, Stanford wouldn’t cross the line until the 11th minute when wing Chelsea Harris crossed over. Only minutes later, center Madda Wilson scored, this time flyhalf Nikki Richardson was able to convert and Stanford led 12-0. In the 18th minute, scrumhalf Esther Melton darted through the Cougar defense and Stanford were off to a strong 17-0 lead. Washington State was then able to reverse momentum, working the ball into Stanford territory, and relentlessly taking Stanford through multiple phases. Stanford’s defensive structure held true time and time again, keeping the Cougar attack at bay. The Washington State attack chose a new tactic, kicking over the top into the try zone. The Stanford cover defense was there, but the referee deemed that Stanford interfered with the Cougars efforts to down the ball and awarded a disputable penalty try. Stanford would regain momentum and score again through lock Julia Howell, who had a stormer of a day. As the teams went to the half, Stanford were off to a 22-7 lead.
The second half started strong for Stanford, with Harris scoring her second only minutes in. Washington State would strike back next, again using the kick and chase to recollect an awkward bounce and score in the corner, Stanford 29-Washington State 12. With thirty minutes to go, and the game still in the balance, Stanford rose to the occasion, scoring the next two tries through McDonald and Richardson, giving Stanford a safe 41-12 lead with twenty minutes remaining. Over the final quarter of the game, Stanford’s precision fell off, but the tireless Cougars wouldn’t quit, earning two consolation tries in the final ten minutes.
Next Up: Stanford (9-1/6-0) advances to USA Rugby’s Spring Regional Playoffs. The Western Playoff will be held at Stanford’s Steuber Field on April 11th and 12th. Teams and times will be release by USA Rugby soon.
Pacific Mountain Conference Playoffs
Saturday, March 28th:
Game 1 (10:30) – Chico State-West @4 (0) vs. Central Washington-North #1 (101)
Game 2 (12:30) – UC Davis-West #2 (45) 2 vs. UC San Diego- South #1 (15)
Game 3 (2:30) – Stanford-West #1 (98) vs. UC Santa Barbara-South #2 (0)
Game 4 (4:30) – Cal-West #3 (22) vs. Washington State-North #2 (37)
Sunday, March 29th:
Game 5 (9:30am) – Chico State (14) vs. UC San Diego (24)
Game 6 (11:30am) – UC Santa Barbara (3) vs. Cal (62)
Game 7 (1:30pm) – Central Washington (57) vs. UC Davis (10)
Game 8 (3:30pm) – Stanford (41) vs. Washington State (22)
Stanford Team vs. Washington State: 1: Isabella Jibilian (Daly Montgomery) 2: Lia Ferguson 3: Chelsey Sveinsson (Zineb Oulmaki) 4: Julia Howell (Theresa Asuquo) 5: Allie Ballesteros 6: Sasha Herbst de Cortina *Captain 7: Jhori Varner (Fiona Meyer-Teruel) 8: Lai Turn 9: Esther Melton (Tia Watkins) 10: Nikki Richardson (Valerie Chen) 11: Dani McDonald (Megan McAndrews) 12: Maki Asrat 13: Madda Wilson (Lex Schoenberg) 14: Chelsea Harris 15: Olivia Bernadel-Huey
Scoring Summary: 11: Stanford Harris Try 15: Stanford Wilson Try (Richardson Conversion) 18: Stanford Melton Try 34: Washington State Penalty Try 38: Stanford Howell Try (Richardson Conversion) (Halftime Stanford 22- Washington State 7) 45: Stanford Harris Try (Richardson Conversion) 49: Washington State Try 52: Stanford McDonald Try 60: Stanford Richardson Try (Richardson Conversion) 70: Washington State Try 80: Washington State Try (Fulltime Stanford 41- Washington State 22)