Women’s Rugby falls to Bryant State

Colby women’s rugby played a tough game against Bryant State team this weekend. In a game played for an advantageous playoff position after an undefeated season, Bryant State came on top 19-14.

Nov. 2nd was crisp. On a Colby women’s rugby came to play, and they brought in a crowd. The crowd came to see two of the best 15 teams in the Northeast play for playoff positioning. Both teams were undefeated heading into the game, but only one of these teams would leave on top.

The game started deadlocked. While the Mules dominated position, it was hard for either team to make a real break. Rucks formed quick, but they were quickly blown up. Helen Sears `20 did a fantastic job getting the ball out wide through quick rucks, but early it wasn’t quite enough. Bryant broke through halfway through the first half with a well-worked try and conversion.

However, after chipping away at Bryant’s defense and a couple of quick breaks by an agile set of backs, the Mules broke through approaching the end of the second half with a try from Alexa Peterkin `21. Sears stepped back, teed up, and nailed the kick from underneath the posts to tie the game up with time left to play in the second half. The Colby backs continued to put in work, swinging the ball wide when possible and making consistent breaks, but Bryant’s quick fullback made it difficult to convert these opportunities. However, the Mules did well to hold Bryant’s quick back line in their own half, leading to several kicks. Sally Burke `21 at fullback started several promising offensives off of such kicks. Unfortunately, Bryant’s goal line defense seemed impenetrable, and Colby had a hard time breaking their 22 meter line. With subpar officiating, Bryant State dove into rucks, making possession difficult for the best of teams, and after a few strong defensive stands, the Bryant fullback made a break for a try, giving Bryant a 14-7 lead heading into the half.

Emma Hofman `20 came in as an impact sub at the beginning of the second half. By impact sub I quite mean immediate impact with a 50-meter break as soon as she entered the game in order to even the game up. Hofman is known for her backline speed, and it showed the second she stepped between the sidelines. With a lot of the game left to go, there was no telling how this game would turn out. The pattern of play continued with forwards holding their ground while the backs for either team tried to beat the others on the side of the pitch, leading to several scrums and lineouts. Colby dominated the scrums while lineouts went both ways. Bryant’s back speed proved to win them the game however, after a solid break from their fullback led to an eventual try. Even though they didn’t make the conversion, the 19-14 lead would hold. 

Colby continued to drive but struggled to break through with unreliable officiating conditions, tough forwards on the Bryant side, and a couple of unlucky turnovers. For some in the crowd, the officiating was a clear hindrance to Colby. One such fan, Aidan Cyr `20, let these concerns be heard resulting in Cyr being ejected by the official and asked to leave the game. Speaking with the Echo, Cyr stated “Rugby is a really hard game to referee as one person, and a lot of things can be missed. I thought some of the misses were pretty obvious mistakes, but I am obviously not an objective observer. It is tough to see calls go like that when the game and conference championship are truly on the line.” Hofman would say after the game: “Despite the frustration of the game’s outcome, I was really proud of the way we played. Going from a terrible loss to Bryant last year to a really close game this year was rewarding and reflects how much we’ve improved.”

While the Mules were unable to pull this one out, they aren’t finished. They will be playing in the playoffs on Nov. 16.  Come out to support the Mules as they look to march on.