It was a beautiful day in Huntsville, 13 out of the 14 ladies who have been practicing showed up ready to take the pitch of their first rugby match as an official club. I’d also like to take this time to thank all the family members that came out to our first match to watch their daughter’s play this great game.
These ladies (some have been working since last October) have been chomping at the bit to get a game and see and show what they have. Everyone made it to Pritchett Field and began warming up. Coach Sharpie and I discussed the players and made the selection as to would take the field in our first game.
The Lineup for this match: 1. Saskia Versteeg, 2. Amber Khan, 3. Stephanie Marek, 4. Alyssa Gelman, 5. Andrea Moreno, 6. Sarah Colliflower, 7. Rebeka Hull
Replacement - Tiara Littleton
The first match kicked off and there were a lot of nervous people surrounding the field and on it. The ladies did exactly as they had been coached and got exactly as they had been told. Sam Houston St. (SHSU) while being an established club, they’re struggling with numbers to field a 15’s side, but they have played in a good number of 7’s. Hence the experience level they brought to the game. SHSU had one player in particular who seemed to be clearly the on field leader and it was her running skills that made the difference. The ladies were playing catch up most of this first half. SHSU put up 4 Trys for 26 points in the first 7 minutes (all by KC the more skilled runner for SHSU). At
the half the ladies were told they were playing well and be a little more aggressive in scrums and back line defense or attack. There were a few moments when we got ball in hand, but the SHSU defense was good and they were able to poach the ball away from our ladies and counter attack. The second half was a little better; we were able to keep SHSU to only 3 Trys in this half. The only scary moment in this half was watching Sarah come up to make a tackle and go down to the ground with a shoulder injury. She was replaced by Tiara Littleton and after getting Sarah to the bench, she informed me that her shoulder often pops out and it was no big deal. By that time her shoulder was back in and she was ready to play more. She’s one tough cookie, the final score of that first match SHSU 45, UT Dallas 0.
After a few minutes the second match began and the Line up for that: 1. Lauren Featherstone, 2. Gisselle Hoover, 3. Ellen Nguyen, 4. Marie Imperial, 5. Alyssa Gelman, 6. Aimi Nguyen, 7. Tiara Littleton.
Replacement: Sarah Colliflower
These ladies watched the first match and were determined not to make any of the same mistakes they saw in the first match. They came up and pressured SHSU backs but again it was KC’s running skills that made the difference.
UT Dallas ladies held SHSU to only 3 Trys this half, score at the half SHSU 21, UTD 0. The second half began and the UTD ladies were now spreading the field in defense and making every attempt to put bodies on any SHSU ball carrier.
In this second half when Sarah came in, the team began to show some imagination, one time deep in their half. The ladies got the ball to Sarah and all of a sudden, a pop kick deep to the SHSU Fullback, with Sarah leading the charge, they went down field. This was a thing of beauty, but SHSU found supporting players to pass to for scoring
We just weren’t quick enough to cover everyone all the time. But heck this was the team’s second match, but each of these ladies it was their first match. Like the first half we limited SHSU to 3 more trys in this half as well, the final score SHSU 38, UT Dallas 0.
The third and final match of the day was about to begin the line up for this match: 1. Saskia Versteeg, 2. Amber Khan, 3. Tiara Littleton, 4. Alyssa Gelman, 5. Ellen Nguyen, 6. Marie Imperial, 7. Stephanie Marek.
Replacements in the second half: Lauren Featherstone, Andrea Moreno, Sarah Colliflower, Aimi Nguyen, Rebeka Hull, Gisselle Hoover.
This was the match for everything, Sam Houston had clearly dominated us in the first two matches, but like the guys, these girls didn’t give up. UT Dallas opened the first half with Marie finding room on the side lines and she ran in the FIRST Try for the UT Dallas Women’s Rugby Club and for the first time, we held the lead. But we weren’t done by a long shot. Other girls scoring a Try in this final match were Tiara Littleton, Sarah Colliflower. Stephanie Marek in this game was a true force; she scored 2 Trys in this match. One of her Trys was on a run about 40 yards into goal, in which she side stepped and out ran her opponents. Her second Try came from about 5 yards away from goal, this time she twisted and turned and powered her way into goal to dot the Try for her second of the day. SHSU was able to score 2 times in this half, but it was all UT Dallas in this match. The final score UTD 27, SHSU 10.
I realize this is going on forever, but there is so much to talk about. These ladies came out to play and play they did. 12 of them had never played any kind of sport that involved tackling or running with ball in hand and to watch the transformation that they experienced on this particular afternoon was GREAT. Kudos goes out to all the ladies Saskia who has a soccer background showed good skills in the scrums and getting around the field. Tiara has played
flag football started to show how keen she is on the tackle and running the ball. Amber and Gisselle both showed good skills in their first time in the middle of a scrum, they’ll be much better the next time around. Ellen who has been picking up various skills around the pitch and becoming another leader on the field, she’s going to scoring some
trys of her own soon. Stephanie is a good a player and her attacks and defense will only get better. Aimi, Lauren and Rebeka watching them build confidence and believing in their own skills and the skills of their team-mates is great to
watch – they are improving daily. Alyssa, the little general, she got this whole thing started, her play on the field is becoming infectious to all the other ladies on her team and it’s great watching her. Andrea’s confidence is growing more from each practice and now games, I know she will become as good a defender and attacker and she’ll be scoring Trys herself. My unofficial honorable mentions go to Sarah and Marie. Sarah who’s learning more and more about the game each week and she did come up with the pop kick in the half, showing good imagination and also going back on the pitch after her shoulder popped out. Marie who was tenacious all over the field, tackling everyone with the ball and when she had ball in hand she was looking for space or dishing off to her team-mates. The Sam Houston Women’s Rugby Club had a lot of good things to say about the UTD Women and how well they played, and those comments made Sharpie and I feel real good about where we are and where this club will be going. Great game ladies, all of you.
Next week the ladies will play UTSA in two 14 minute games. The first one will be at 4:45pm on Saturday March 2nd and the second match will be immediately following the UT Dallas Men’s semi final against LeTourneau University in the first semi final match of the day.
The directions and location of the field is posted on the web site under Venue Directions. More about next
week’s games will be posted on Tuesday.