Saturday April 20, 2019 - Cougar Rugby News Editor
UC Irvine, CA - The BYU Women's Rugby Cougars punched their ticket to the DI College Spring Championship in Matthews-Charlotte, North Carolina on May 4th, by defeating Stanford on Friday April 19, 65 - 0 in the Quarterfinal, and then took care of a strong UC Santa Barbara side on Saturday April 20, winning that Semifinal game by 49 - 7.
On the weekend, the Cougars' defense took it to Stanford and UCSB and nearly pulled off a complete shutout scoring a combined 114 - 7 in two games. UC Santa Barbara's try came from an intercept when BYU was on attack inside UCSB half.
During the Stanford game, the Cardinals applied pressure in the beginning of the game Friday, and it took awhile for the Cougars to regain control and started putting points on the board. BYU led 24 - 0 at the half through tries from Alisa Baker (2), Pamela Patton, and Rachel Strasdas. BYU finished the day with putting up 65 unanswered points through tries from Elle Peterson, Matalasi Morrissette, Sandy Kanuch, Hannah Beagley, Pamela Patton and Tiana Tolman.
The Saturday, UCSB vs BYU semifinal match up was the most anticipated game that the rugby crowd was looking forward to see this past weekend. There was about 20 minutes of rugby where the two teams applied pressure on each others goal line. BYU drew first points through Heather Erickson with a try in the corner. This was followed by tries to Hannah Beagley, Sandy Kanuch, and Lora Gubler. BYU led 20 - 0 at the half with kickers finding it hard to land conversions against the wind.
BYU Coach Tom Waqa, had a lot to say in the halftime huddle, and demanded more from the players, "You have 40 minutes left to empty your tank. If your tank is not empty then you keep giving 100%. We need the W."
The Cougars took that to heart and put the game away through tries to Emily Briggs, Alisa Baker, Larissa Graham, and Tiana Tolman with multiple players trying out conversions for each try. UCSB camne through with a consolation try in the end through an intercept from center Naomi Carrillo. BYU held on to win 49 - 7.
BYU moved to play in DI Spring Championship level from DI Elite this 2018-2019 season, citing that the Cougars Extramural Sports or Collegiate Club (not NCAA/Athletics or Varsity status) can identify more with teams at the DI level. The program does not and cannot offer scholarships or recruit from outside of campus. 90% of the team members joined the team and played rugby for the first time while enrolled in school at BYU.
The #1 ranked BYU will advance to the USA Rugby DI College Spring Championship on May 4, 2019 in Matthews-Charlotte, North Carolina, and will face a strong #3 ranked Virginia Tech University side that eliminated last year's runner up University of Central Florida.