Wednesday, March 23 2016 - By Alex Solomon
PROVO, Utah – Central Washington Women's Rugby continued its unbeaten season when it traveled to Utah Wednesday and upended Brigham Young University, 12-7. The win moves the Wildcats to 10-0 in 15s, while the Cougars showed immense improvement from their October visit to Ellensburg, Wash., when BYU lost, 40-17.
Playing on the road as opposed to home made things tougher on the Wildcats, but the 2015 National Runners-up in both 15s and sevens had also been spending most of 2016 focusing on sevens, and their March 19 warm up against University of British Columbia was canceled. In the other corner, the Cougars had already tallied five 15s matches in 2016, winning each, including a 26-14 victory over Canada’s University of Lethbridge.
Suffocating defensive-line integrity and gritty tackling highlighted the first 40 minutes, which produced zero points between the two D1 elite sides. Central Washington is employing a new defensive scheme, but a hard-nose mentality is what really drove the Wildcats' bone-crunching effort on defense.
“They had big runners and we had big tacklers,” said Central Washington center Nate Serevi. “BYU came in hard and contested every ruck hard. Everyone on the team had a role and committed to it. That’s what held us together on defense.”
All 15 starters and each used reserve were steadfast on that side of the ball for the Wildcats, but a few players were noticeably hungry on defense including center Meagan Curtis and scrum half Emma Leonard, as well as Yana Manoa and Rosa Pena – who both excelled stepping into new positions.
The Cougars took notice of Central Washington’s ability to match BYU’s physicality.