BYU defeats CWU, capping a 11-0 Fall 2018 record

Saturday October 27, 2018 - 2.00pm MDT ; By Maddie Kunzler, Cougar Rugby News & Guest Editor

Kathleen Dzaran, Tayzlie Tripple, Rachel Strasdas, Katie Gurney enjoying the moment before the big game Sat Oct 27.

Provo, UT - The BYU Women’s Rugby team had a great close to their season this Fall 2018 semester. This past, Oct 18-20 weekend, they traveled to Phoenix & Mesa, Arizona to compete against four teams - Grand Canyon, Arizona State, Arizona & Northern Arizona University. On the Friday October 19th, the Cougars started off with a win, beating Grand Canyon University 72 - 5. On Saturday October 20th, both A and B side teams were able to compete against University of Arizona, Arizona State, and Northern Arizona University. Highlights of the tournament included great runs by prop Jaelen Makasini, wing Tiana Tolman, and center Delaney Rakuita; a stellar kick by #9 Brooklyn Grange, run down by center Rachel Strasdas for a try; and a beautiful interception by wing Madeline Kunzler that led to her try under the posts. The team worked hard to maintain possession and play tough defense throughout the day.

ASU Round Robin Tournament October 20th, Final Scores:
> vs. Grand Canyon, 72-5
> vs. U of A, 49-0 ( A Side)
> vs. ASU, 50-0 (A Side)
> vs. ASU, 29-0 (B Side)
> vs. NAU, 49-0 (A Side)
> vs. U of A, 10-5 (B Side)

This past weekend, Saturday October 27th, BYU Cougars played their last game of the season against a strong Central Washington University. This was the most anticipated game of the season and the Cougars came ready to play. The game took place at the old Provo High School Stadium and the Women’s Rugby team was excited to be the first BYU sanctioned team, to ever compete on this new BYU property.

The Cougars had a great start within 5 minutes of the first half, #7 Rachel Ogden broke free from CWU defense, and scored the first try for BYU. The conversion from winger #14 Katie Gurner sailed wide, but Gurney regained her kicking form and never missed again after that. Ogden's try was followed with an interception by BYU's newest find of the season, sophomore #13 Rachel Strasdas, who is playing in her first semester of rugby, and as a starting center for BYU. Strasdas gathered a loose pass from Central Washington backline, right on the 10m line, in Central Washington territory and out sprinted CWU defense on the way to her first try, BYU's second in the first half.

Junior Fullback #15 Kai Ah Quin and # 10 Matalasi Morrissette had fantastic kicking games and BYU team captain, No. 8 Grace Taito Tora played solid defense.

BYU #14 Katie Gurney managed to slot in 2 crucial penalty kicks in the half, adding 6 points for the Cougars. The BYU-Hawaii soccer transfer, Gurney also in her first semester of rugby, had a grand day on the wing breaking the CWU defensive line on two occations.

Central Washington managed to slot in a converted try right before the half, to make the score 18-7 at the break for halftime.

The second half began and the two teams started where they left off in the first half. BYU was on attack right away from a lineout on CWU's 22m line. A beautiful cut out pass from freshman flyhalf #10 Matalasi Morrissette saw her center #13 Strasdas through a gap in CWU's defense for her second try. Gurney converted to make it 25 - 7. CWU Women replied right away within minutes with another try of their own, bringing the score to 25 - 14.

Flyhalf #10 Morrissette then showed some class of her own, when she regathered her own clearing kick, off loaded to #2 Lora Gubler who drove it within few meters from CWU's tryline. Scrumhalf #9 Brooklyn Grange, who has been outstanding all Fall season, found space beside the ruck, and dived in to score. Gurney converted to make it 32 - 14. Central Washington wildcats were not out and had other ideas. The CWU Wildcats attacked through their strong forwards, led by the #1 Tiara A'au and her brilliant All American center and sister in #12 Suiluana A'au. CWU scored two unanswered tries making it 32 - 26 score, with 5 minutes left on the clock.

BYU goal kicker, #14 Katie Gurney's number was called again, within minutes from final whistle, and she slotted in a penalty kick from the corner - the ball sliding in just over the cross bar.

BYU held on to win it by 35 - 26.

This was the Cougars' closest game of the season. Head Coach Tom Waqa and the team were pleased to start off BYU’s history at the old Provo High school field with a “W”, and creating a perfect 11-0 record for this Fall 2018. The BYU Women’s Rugby team looks forward to continue where they left off this Fall, in the upcoming Winter 2019 season and towards the Women's DI College playoffs in April 2019.

Grace Tora on attack for BYU.