On Sep 30, 2017, the Mary Washington women's rugby team hosted St. Mary's College of Maryland. This was a non-league match; therefore, Mary Washington was able to approach this match differently from the two previous games. Additionally, substitution laws were abandoned, so that both teams could have open substitution, allowing them to work on player development.
The match started with slowly for Mary Washington. Playing with a combination of regular starters and subs, the team was unable to hang on to the ball long before committing numerous turnovers. Plus, several miscues from the Mary Washington defense allowed St. Mary's to maintain possession of the ball longer than they should have. Although the play for both sides was a bit sloppy, Mary Washington finally managed to work the ball down field. Thirteen minutes into the half, rookie second row Allie Burleson ('21) scored her first try ever for Mary Washington. The conversion was unsuccessful and Mary Washington took the lead 5-0. Both sides continued to struggle for field position. Thirteen minutes later, Mary Washington was able to capitalize on poor tackling by St. Mary's. Prop Oliva Stuart ('21) was able to break through the defense, bringing the score to 10-0 in Mary Washington's favor.
Unfortunately for Mary Washington, their focus dropped and St. Mary's was able to move the ball downfield. At 33 minutes in the first half, the flyhalf from St. Mary's took about short pop kick over the Mary Washington defense. They were unable to retreat in time and the flyhalf was able to field her own kick. She weaved through the two remaining defenders and scored a try. The try went unconverted and Mary Washington's lead was cut to 10-5. The try by St. Mary's appeared to deliver a mental blow to Mary Washington. Within minutes, they found themselves again in a defensive position. Back against their own goal, Mary Washington committed a penalty. Catching Mary Washington off guard, St. Mary's took a quick tap and charged towards the goal line. The Mary Washington defense broke down and St. Mary's was able to score. Unable to convert their second try, the score was now tied 10-10. With the score, the half ended.
The half time break appeared to be what Mary Washington needed. Immediately on the kickoff, they held onto the ball and marched down field. In a forward punch Oliva Stuart ran through St. .Mary's defenders and scored her second try of the match, just 1 minute into the second half. Mary Washington's offense started to get in synch. The timing that was off early in the match, was adjusted. Just six minutes later, inside center Ashleigh Holzwolth ('19) broke through the St. Mary's backline and scored. Still unable to convert a try, Mary Washington now led 20-10.
Mary Washington's possession continue to improve and just 8 minutes later, prop Emily Gaetjen ('20) was able to put in a try from a few meters outside the goal. Jackie Sherman ('17) was able to convert the try, putting Mary Washington up 27-10. On the next kickoff, Mary Washington turned the ball over to St. Mary's. Catching Mary Washington out of position, St. Mary's ran down the field and scored their third try, closing the lead to 27-17. It did not take Mary Washington long to make up for their error, as Ebony Clarke ('19) ran through several defenders, pushing the score to 32-17. For the next ten minutes, the play went back and forth, as each team committed turnovers. It was obvious that both team were beginning to get a little tired. Mary Washington was able to capitalize on the out of position St. Mary's defenders at the 69 minute mark. Rookie Fiona Nugent ('21) scored her first ever try for Mary Washington. When the final whistle blew, the score stood in Mary Washington's favor, 37-17.