The Westerns women’s club rugby team scored a game-winning try on the last play against Eastern Washington University for a 26-24 win during the Vikingsfest tournament on Saturday, April 18, at Robert S. Harrington Field.
Western freshman back Abigail March was responsible for scoring the try, touching down the ball as the time hit zero. March said she did not realize she won the game until everyone went crazy and she saw the scoreboard.
“I jumped and caught it and then just sprinted,” she said. “It was the last play, so no matter what that was going to be the end of the game.”
March began playing rugby in January at Western and said she loves the team aspect of the sport, along with the contact.
The tournament included teams from Western, Eastern Washington University, University of Washington and University of Oregon.
Western was ranked second with two losses and one win in a three-way tie with Eastern Washington and University of Washington during the tournament. Oregon was the overall winner with three wins.
The beginning of the game was evenly aggressive and the ball stayed near the middle of the field. Eastern started with possession, but it quickly changed to Western’s within a few minutes. Western senior back Rylie Creagan looked for an opening in Eastern’s defenses to make a breaking run to score the first try of the match.
“It rewards the whole team effort, because you can’t do everything on your own,” Creagan said.
Western’s back line had good defensive pressure, but Eastern quickly pulled away around the outside to score three tries before the first half, leading Western 7-19.
Within the first minute of the second half, Eastern found gaps in Western’s defenses and pulled farther ahead, 7-24. Over the next 10 minutes of the match, Western scored two tries and two conversions with a score of 21-24. It came down to the last play of the game with no time left when March ran in for the winning try.
“We were low on numbers today, but I think as a whole we played very well,” said Gwen Willis, a junior at Western holding both positions of captain and a forward on the team.
Willis said the team has not had a coach for two years, but will get one next year.
She said the team is student run, with an elected forwards coach and a backs coach, they come up with ideas for drills using prior knowledge from past practices.
The team’s next season starts in October.