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Women's Rugby

Mary Washington tops UNC Charlotte in the consolation match at the USA Rugby National Playoffs

Mary Washington tops UNC Charlotte in the consolation match at the USA Rugby National Playoffs

On April 9, 2017 the Mary Washington women's rugby team faced the University of North Carolina – Charlotte, who lost their playoff match to Kennesaw State on the previous day. 

On the opening kickoff of the match, it looked like Mary Washington was in the same trouble as the previous day.  Lack of positioning and tackling allowed UNC-Charlotte to return the ball for a try.  Unconverted, the score now stood at 5-0, one minute into the match.

On the following kickoff, Mary Washington was able to gain control over UNC-Charlotte.  A quick attack is what Mary Washington needed, as Ebony Clarke ('18) scored to even the match at 5-5.  The try was not converted.  Tackling and positioning troubles continued to plague Mary Washington as they gave up two more quick tries at the seventh and ninth minute.  Mary Washington was now in the hole 17-5. 

Mary Washington settled down and began to cover the open spaces, shutting down numerous attacks by UNC-Charlotte.  The two sides went back and forth until Mary Washington was able to punch through UNC-Charlotte's back line, making the score 17-10, still in UNC-Charlotte's favor.  Scoring for Mary Washington was Ashleigh Holzworth ('19).  Back and forth play continued, but it was obvious Mary Washington was improving its tempo and ball control.  At minute 28, forward Lani Budi ('17) ran through several defenders, scoring a try.  Ashleigh Holzworth converted the score, now making it a tied match, 17-17.  It appeared that Mary Washington had the momentum they needed as flyhalf Jackie Sherman ('17) was able to run through open space, scoring and pulling Mary Washington ahead.  Ashleigh again converted the try.  For the first time in the match, Mary Washington took the lead, with the score now at 24-17.  Play continued for one minute, before the halftime whistle was blown.

On the opening kickoff of the second half, the Mary Washington players fell back to their bad habits of poor position and tackling, allowing UNC-Charlotte to immediately score.  A missed conversion left Mary Washington's lead to just two points, 24-22.  Mary Washington quickly countered and Jackie Sherman took advantage of a Charlotte miscue, scoring just two minutes later.  Ashleigh Holzworth made the conversion, pushing Mary Washington ahead 31-22. 

Play settle down for the next ten minutes, as both sides went back and forth like they did in the first half.  However, this time, the Mary Washington offense was not as strong, unable to capitalize and score on any UNC-Charlotte mistakes.  At minute 54, UNC-Charlotte ran an open field attack with support on the wing overloading the Mary Washington defense, UNC-Charlotte scored, cutting the score to 31-27.  Inspired by now being within striking distance of the lead, UNC-Charlotte scored again just 5 minutes later.  A converted try put them ahead 34-31. 

Mary Washington regained their form from the first half, taking control of the ball, moving it downfield.  A couple missed opportunities put the ball back into Charlotte's hands briefly, but forced turnovers by Mary Washington allowed them to regain possession.  At minute 65, Lani Budi was able to break through the Charlotte defense, putting Mary Washington back ahead 36-34. 

With less than ten minutes, both sides stepped up their play, knowing the match could go either way.  Play became a bit frantic and Mary Washington was caught off-guard; UNC-Charlotte put in a try with 8 minutes left to play.  Unable to convert, Mary Washington was not out of the match, being down by only 3, with the score being 39-36.

UNC-Charlotte was not able to hang onto the kickoff from Mary Washington, resulting in a scrum for Mary Washington, deep inside UNC-Charlotte's side of the pitch.  Mary Washington maintained possession of the ball, stepping up the attack.  A penalty on Charlotte caught them out of position, resulting in a quick attack by Mary Washington and a score by Lani Budi.  With 4 minutes left in the match the score was now at 41-39 in favor of Mary Washington.  UNC-Charlotte's defense on the kickoff enabled Mary Washington to bring the ball into Charlotte territory.  Both sides knew a mistake from either team could cost them the match.  With no time reaming, Charlotte knocked the ball forward, resulting in scrum to Mary Washington, a stop in play, and a final whistle.  Mary Washington won the consolation match 41-39.