Bloomsburg Women secure third at DII Fall Championships

At the start of a day of brilliant rugby, Vassar played Bloomsburg in the DII women's consolation game.

Vassar looked to have made a few adjustments from their last match, playing with greater pace and width. They quickly drove down the field, and after a series of good phases, inside center Cierra Thompson broke down the touchline for an early score. The conversion fell short and the score stood at 5-0.

Photo: Vassar College v. Bloomsburg University, Furman University

A high tackle on Nicole Snyder gave Bloomsburg a penalty on the Vassar 22, and after one phase, Snyder herself broke a tackle and stepped inside the fullback to respond with a try of her own. The conversion went through the posts, and Bloomsburg took a 7-5 lead.

Snyder wasted no time scoring again, breaking out of her own 22 a minute later to score under the posts. The conversion from Kelly Mason was good, and the score was 14-7. The battle between Bloomsburg No. 12 Nicole Snyder and Vassar No. 12 Cierra Thomas was lively all day, with both looking to spark their sides to a victory.

From there, the scoring slowed as both teams battled battled back and forth.

Photo: Vassar College v. Bloomsburg University, Furman University

With 7 minutes to go, Vassar scored in the corner after sustaining pressure with Moriah Ghant diving over in the corner. The conversion was short, but the deficit was cut to 14-10. Bloomsburg replied quickly, with Snyder getting her second hat trick in as many days to make the score 19-10. Kelly Mason couldn't get the conversion, but Bloomsburg never slowed down from there.

Vassar struck back to close out the half, with fullback Rachael Elson dotting down for a great score. Mary Margaret McElduff was able to convert, so the half closed with a score of 19-17.

Bloomsburg struck straight from the start of the half, blasting through the Vassar defence in the 41st minute to give her side a 24-17 lead. It took just 4 minutes for Snyder to strike again, showing pace and power to fend off a would be tackler before dotting down with a very impressive score. Kelly Mason again made no mistake with the conversion putting the ball clean through the uprights to make the score 31-17.

Photo: Vassar College v. Bloomsburg University, Furman University

Megan Reilly was rewarded with her phenomenal ball carrying and offloading all weekend with a try with 28 minutes left to play, however Mason was not able to convert on this occasion, and Bloomsburg's lead was extended to 36-17.

Vassar began their fight back, with Nathalie Freeman scoring to close the gap to 36-22, as Mary Margaret McElduff made the conversion, but Bloomsburg seemed comfortable sitting back and running down the clock as the game progressed. Nicole Snyder struck again extending the Bloomsburg lead to 43-22.

Vassar refused to give in, scoring two more great tries through inside center Cierra Thomas who has really impressed in this tournament, but this was simply too little too late. Vassar have made a big impression this season, overcoming a major size deficit to surprise many teams. Bloomsburg have a core of very talented players, and should be in contention for years to come.

Nicole Snyder was dominant in all aspects, but in addition to her finishing ability she showed great vision and skills to offload in contact, setting up simple tries for those outside her. The way she carried her team throughout the Final Four was very impressive, and she remains one of the standout players of the weekend.

Photo: Vassar College v. Bloomsburg University, Furman University