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The Blue & Gray Press | December 17, 2017

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Longwood Devastates Mary Wash

By JOEY MERKEL

The University of Mary Washington women’s rugby team gave it their all this past Saturday at the Battlegrounds, but unfortunately came up just a kick short in a heartbreaking 14-13 loss to Longwood University.

Players didn’t really know what to expect from Longwood but were ready to put their skills to the test in a gritty game.

“We had no idea how that game was going to go; it was a wildcard. Longwood has changed completely in the past few years, said senior Marissa Boyce. “I was actually pleasantly surprised with the level of play we showed. We’ve lost 32 players in three years, including more than half of our starting team from last year.”

Mary Washington got on the board first after driving deep in to Longwood territory. A penalty kick by senior Emily Blease set the score to 3-0. Junior Jamie Pimsler contributed the team’s first try.

The ladies seemed to have control over the entire game. It was sophomore, VRU-U23 all-star Dani Jones that put the ruggers up 13-7 after a breakout, 85-meter long run for a try. The score all but sealed the game’s fate.

Unfortunately, Longwood stormed back down the field late in the game to put five more points on the board with a try that was set down in the right corner of the try-zone. With stoppage time expired, the only way Longwood could win was for their fullback to make a very improbable conversion.

“Not at all” was the response from team president Boyce when asked whether or not she thought the kick had a chance of going through.

“That kick was taken from the corner,” Boyce said. “And, their fullback hadn’t had a successful kick all day.”

In rugby, because kicker attempts the converion parallel to where the ball is touched down and the angle of the kick can be very extreme, it is worth two points while the actual try is worth five.

The loss was tough on most players. Since division II play was established, it was just the second league game the team had lost.

“At first, I was heartbroken,” Boyce said. “But the more I think about it, the better I feel. This game really lit a fire under our girls. As for the state tournament, I personally can’t wait. It’s going to be a hard game, but if all of us go out there and play our hardest, it’s in the bag.”