THE FINAL FOUR- WOMEN’S RUGBY
Norwich University’s women’s rugby team’s victory over Army sent them to the USA Rugby Division 1 National Tournament Final Four in Stanford, CA.
It’s 92 degrees in the blistering sun. The Northeast did nothing to prepare us for this. Sweat dripping from every inch of our bodies, we assemble during halftime in the shade. Panting, slumped on the ground, begging for water and Gatorade, no one says a word. We’re down by one try (similar to a touchdown in Football, except it’s worth 5 points).
We were playing Stanford Women’s Team. They were bigger, stronger in some ways. We were smaller, faster, considerably newer to DI play. Stanford had been playing Division 1 teams since their inception, whereas this was our first season. We were from a small Division 3 school in Vermont, Norwich University. Our student population accounted for just about 500 females. Stanford had well over 3,000 females to choose from. It was obvious to most that our heart and drive for competition had led us here, to the most elite teams in women’s rugby in the nation.
I think we all knew that we were playing one of the hardest matches that we ever would. But instead of hanging our heads, we picking ourselves up. We had nothing to lose, we were the underdogs of the tournament. No one expected us to do anything amazing.
But, we did. We chugged some water and Gatorade, and approached the pitch (a rugby’s player’s field) as a team. Next time, my post will cover the technicalities of the game of rugby for our readers, so I’ll spare you the details today. (If you can’t wait, the Vermont Youth Rugby Association blog is a great start to learning the game!)
PALO ALTO, Calif. – Senior captain fly half Emily Baugus (Kingsville, Texas) kicked a 35-yard penalty kick as time expired for the 33-31 victory over Stanford University in the 2013 USA Rugby Division 1 National Semifinals.
The win was pure ecstasy. A dramatic sports film couldn’t have done it better. The clock left 00:00 minutes on the clock, when a call beckoned a penalty in our favor. We were down, 30-29. The penalty lined our team up perfectly for a kick. Before our Captain and kicker, Emily Baugus let the ball fly, I knew that we’d done it. She had amazing precision, and we had practiced kicks much harder than this every day at the our home field, the Dog River Pitch.
She proved me right. The ball soared through the air, and in the moments that followed I saw Stanford faces furrow in defeat. I saw my teammates’ eyes light up, intense jaw lines evolve into beaming smiles. We limped our ragged, cracked, and bruised bodies into a dog pile on top of our captain. No matter what happened tomorrow, today we were National Champions.
The full story on this game, the team’s storybook run for the Division 1 National Championship, and all the season’s details can be found on the Norwich Women’s Rugby homepage.
Baylee Annis is a Junior at Norwich University from Saranac Lake, NY. She plays Prop for the team and is double majoring in English and Education.
See this post in its original format in the Garuka Bar Blog.