On Sep 16, 2017 the Mary Washington women's rugby team hosted Virginia Commonwealth University. As the first league match of the season, the team was a little anxious. Due to weather over the two previous weekends, the team was not able to play any non-league matches as a tune up. In the prior fall, the women's rugby team lost their opening league match and were hoping not to have a repeat performance.
The opening kickoff went to Mary Washington. Although the VCU defenders were able to meet the Mary Washington players, UMW kept possession of the ball through several breakdowns, gaining a few meters with each ruck. As the team approached the goal line, the forwards set up for a punch. Crossing the goal line for Mary Washington was rookie prop Oliva Stuart ('21). Her perfectly centered try set up an easy conversation for Jackie Sherman ('17). Just 3 minutes into the match, Mary Washington had a 7 point lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Mary Washington lost possession of the ball. Play went back and forth, with Mary Washington and VCU exchanging possession several times. Eventually Mary Washington regained their rhythm and off a quick attack winger Sidney "Squid" Casey ('18) broke free for a try. Another conversation By Jackie Sherman put the score at 14-0, ten minutes into the match. In a déjà vu performance, eight minutes later Squid scored again, with Jackie Sherman slotting the conversion.
It was apparent that Mary Washington was not going to suffer the same result as their opening league match from the fall of 2016. The team went on to score 4 more times before the half. Scoring their first ever trys for Mary Washington were prop Temi Ogungbade ('19), outside center Beth Haden ('19), and winger Marissa Wood ('20); with Jackie Sherman rounding out the fourth try. Ashleigh Holzworth ('19) converted Ogungbade's try, with Jackie Sherman converting Haden's and her own try. At halftime, the score stood at 47-0 in Mary Washington's favor.
During the second half Mary Washington made some tactical substitutions, which slightly changed the flow of their attack. This, mixed with the break between the halves, allowed VCU to regain some composure. While the play went back and forth between the teams, Mary Washington was eventually able to adjust to their attack and returned to their dominance with ball possession. Nine minutes into the second half, transfer Maddie Harple ('19) scored her first try ever for Mary Washington. This seemed to break the spirts of VCU, with Mary Washington being able to capitalize with 5 additional trys in the next 20 minutes. Scoring for Mary Washington was second row Zoe Fox ('20), Squid (with a hat trick), Jackie Sherman, Ashleigh Holzworth, and Beth Haden. Mary Washington was not as fortunate with conversions in the second half, with Jackie Sherman making their lone conversion. When the final whistle blew, Mary Washington had won 79-0.