In a game where the stakes were high, the Quinnipiac women’s rugby team (4-4 overall, 4-3 NIRA) delivered once again as it defeated Notre Dame College (4-5 overall, 4-5 NIRA) 46-5 on Saturday to advance to its fourth straight semifinal game.
With the Bobcats not having played a game in two weeks, head coach Becky Carlson was confident in the fact that her team would show no signs of regression.
[media-credit id=2279 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]“If you’re going to have a confidence builder into the semifinals, this game would be it,” Carlson said. “In practice they did all the little things and you can’t ask of anymore from your players.”
The Bobcats opened up the first half with senior outside center and captain Emily Roskopf diving into the Notre Dame zone to give the Bobcats a 7-0 lead. Prior to the game, Roskopf and senior wing Catria Sands were honored for their contributions to the program. With having the experience of winning three championships, Roskopf made sure to tell the underclassmen the importance of this game.
“It’s kind of a one and done, so if you don’t show up today, then there’s no tomorrow,” Roskopf said. “It’s a mentality of be strong, go out there and keep going.”
Sands, who has played in almost every match for the Bobcats, also made sure to tell the underclassmen to not take Notre Dame lightly.
“We haven’t played too much together as a team,” Sands said. “This is the time to come together and show them that we can play together.”
The Bobcats continued that momentum as freshman fullback Allison Koenig scored two consecutive tries to extend the lead to 17-0. Junior center Mikah Maples converted another try for the Bobcats to put them up 29-0 going into the first half.
Despite the offensive outburst, the Bobcats only allowed the Falcons to convert one try, and that’s something that has caught the eye of Carlson.
“You know when you’re putting your head down because it’s not a shutout means that there has been a big emphasis on defense,” Carlson said. “We really tried to put a focus on the defense because we know going into next weekend, it’s not going to be about how many offloads or tries you have, it’s going to be about how many times you stop your opponent.”
Stopping the opponent continued to be a challenge for Notre Dame as freshman wing Margot Vella scored two tries to put the Bobcats up 34-0. Mikah Maples scored her second try of the game to put the Bobcats up 46-5.
The Bobcats have to shift their focus next weekend where they travel to Hanover, NH to face Harvard. Now how can the Bobcats stop an opponent that’s beaten them them twice this season? Carlson believes in the phrase that the third time’s the charm.
“We don’t know what team comes out on any given day,” Carlson said. “They are fast on the breakdown, fast on the back of scrum, have a good 15 and nine. Work on stifling those possessions and communication and today the communication was back.”