River/Boston/Portland Round Robin April 14th, 2012

Round Robin Style

In a round robin-style tournament in Portland, Maine, the ladies of Charles River Rugby added another link to their chain of weekends with rugby wins.  The Lady Rats split on the day, garnering an impressive victory over Division 1 Boston Women’s before the taxed squad fell to Portland in their second match.  The afternoon highlighted resiliency and depth from River, who, despite traveling without five members of their usual starting lineup, played brilliantly against two higher-level opponents.

Charles River exploded into their first match Saturday, capitalizing on the fresh legs afforded them by Portland’s scheduling structure.  The Rats focused on a run game, with the orange and green pack pushing through the Boston forwards, while the back line ran switches and crashes to penetrate the defense.  The Rat Pack’s rucking was spectacular through the first match.  Veteran prop and Captain Jehanne Junguenet led the way for the fearless pack, closely flanked by impromptu 8-man Kara McAuliffe, and lock Anne “Wales” Beaumont.  The three women played an impressive style of sustained pressure, with stellar ball management for River.  Also noteworthy for the Rats were rookie Karen Smith (prop) and Jordan Ciciliano (flanker).  Ciciliano and Smith tackled mercilessly throughout both matches, but stifled Boston in the first game.  River capitalized early, scoring twice in the abbreviated first half before Boston countered in the second, tightening the game.  A third River try, however, with a conversion kick from flyhalf Maeghan Hoover, would give the Rats the points to secure the win.

The Charles River victory would come at a price, though, and the few substitutions afforded to River’s traveling skeleton crew fell to injury in the second match.  Without reserves against a rested Portland team, the Rats struggled.  The orange and green fought valiantly, maintaining a narrow margin in the first half.  Outside center Cassie Cox punched through Portland’s line several times, only to be hunted down by the retreating flyhalf.  Hooker Lisa Natalicchio stole a Portland put-in in scrum play, but efforts at a sustained River offensive were largely stymied.  Center and Captain Amanda Martin managed a score for the orange and green.  Martin ran well all afternoon—her efforts would earn her an MVP nod from Boston Women’s after the matches.  Despite a lionhearted effort by the River ladies in the day’s final game, though, a larger, well-stocked and rested Portland team overmatched the weary Rats.

River – a fledgling D-II squad deprived of a third of its starting lineup—proudly celebrated a split against a pair of competitive D-I opponents.  Charles River captains Martin and Junguenet named Anne “Wales” Beaumont as their MVP choice, lauding Beaumont’s aggressive play and unwavering protection of River possessions.  Boston Women’s named Martin for their Charles River MVP selection, while flyhalf Maeghan Hoover earned the accolades from Portland.