Women’s College recaps: Cougars run away from Lobos, Yale slams Penn

Well into October, the 2015-16 fall season is just a few weeks away from drawing to a close. Play-in rounds for the Women's Division I and Division II Fall Championships begin mid-November, with the Finals set for Dec. 5-6 in Greenville, S.C. As the standard of rugby continues to rise, however, teams are forced to focus on matchups week to week rather than mark playoff dates on a calendar.

USA Rugby received match reports from a handful of the past weekend's matches across the country.

Geneseo 34-20 Buffalo State


The Banshees suffered their first defeat of the season seven days prior to the match against Geneseo to move to 5-1 in the Empire Upstate Conference, whereas a two-point loss in the second match of the season spurred the Knights to a four-match win streak heading into the weekend.

A second-minute forwards try from prop Alexandria Miller-Wampler gave visiting Buffalo State the lead, but a first-half brace from inside center Tahlia Brody helped to ensure a 17-5 Geneseo advantage at the break.

Not to be put to bed so early, the Banshees rattled off three tries in 15 minutes - the third scored from the restart of the second - to retake the lead at 20-17. Brody completed her hat trick in the 69th minute to give Geneseo a lead it would not relinquish, secured by two additional Knight tries in the final five minutes.

University of Pennsylvania 26-80 Yale


Yale followed a historic defeat of Columbia - the school's first in three years - with a 12-try victory against Penn on the road.

"The most pleasing aspect of the performance was the manner in which the tries were scored," Yale Head Coach Craig Wilson said. "There were very little breakaway tries due to the combative nature of Penn's defense. Yale had to put phases of play together in order to stretch the Penn defense and create holes in their line.

"It was pleasing to see backs and forwards combining together in what was a true team performance."

Illinois 28-38 Illinois State


The Illini's final home match of the season was spoiled by State Saturday. Though Illinois held a one-try lead at halftime in Champaign, a breakaway try from full back Jessica Dombrowski in the opening moments of the second frame gave the visitors the motivation they needed to get back in front. In what would be the final play of the match, Kristen Weisenberger cleanly hooked the ball from a State scrum and Theresa Curtis received a pass from Dombrowski for the try and victory.

Dombrowksi accounted for 23 of her side's 38 points with a hat trick of tries and four successful conversion attempts. Josie Flynn, who dotted down for the first time in her career and proved an imposing force on defense, was selected by the team's coaching staff as the player of the match.

Brigham Young 90-5 New Mexico


In what would have been billed the match of the season in the Mountain West, the Cougars of BYU celebrated exciting news in fine fashion Saturday, scoring 14 tries in a defeat of perennial Conference contender New Mexico.

Ahead of the team's trip to Colorado for the Oct. 10 match against the Buffaloes, the University announced its recognition of the women's rugby program as an extramural sport. For the first time, administrators, alumni, and supporters of all types in Provo were able to cheer on the BYU Cougars on the rugby pitch.

They were not disappointed, as captain Jordan Gray led the proceedings with a line break and offload to Justina Grubb for the match's opening try. The Cougars did not solely rely on the senior to make things happen, though, with young athletes in playmaking positions putting their own stamp on the game. Junior wing Ali Smith and freshman fly half Eternity Tenney followed Grubb with first-half tries for a 21-0 lead midway through the opening half.

Four additional tries saw BYU take a 45-0 lead into halftime, but the Lobos were not willing to accept defeat. Wing Tanya Aragon, one of New Mexico's representatives at the USA Rugby National All-Star Competitions earlier this year, broke a tackle and beat four defenders on her way to a spectacular individual try as the second half began.

Aragon's try was the Lobos' sole points-scoring play, while the Cougars found the try zone seven times in the final 40 minutes to firmly plant themselves at the top of the Conference table.