After a night of singing and games on the van ride down, we began the day of the tournament with a little help from Wawa coffee and plenty of water for re-hydration. Climbing back into the aromatic vans, we drove the scenic route to Fairmont Park where we were greeted with red feather boas for all and two additional teammates, Patty and Emily, who were both Harvard Rugby alumni.
Following a brief overview of the rules, we learned that we would first be playing the top seed of the tournament, the Wharton Wilde’s. The first game served as a great learning experience for HBS. We quickly figured out the rules and the best way to gain yardage. Although the game was the first time we had ever practiced defense against opponents, we gave very little ground. Unfortunately, Wharton’s former All-American rugby star, Carolyn, found two holes and slipped through to score twice. We ended the first game with a loss of 2-0, but were very proud of our efforts.
Our second game was against Wharton’s B team, the Wharton Beest’s.
Working with Claire Dixon (OG) as the dummy half, Eva Michel (FAS) gained significant yardage by driving the ball up the field to score our first try of the tournament. Having learned our lesson during the first game, Therese Molina (OF), Jannike Aase (OF) and Emily Thompson (RA) made some impressive defensive plays and let nothing pass through them.
Our next game was the semi-finals against Columbia Business School.
Earning the MVP nomination for the team, Mandissa Quick (NE), made a spectacular run to the try line to score. Although it was a “touch” rugby tournament, Jannike took several hard hits without complaint while running the ball up the line. In a show of support for the women, Derek Mendez (ODB), made an impressive display between games to psyche us up for our final game that immediately followed.
Matched against the Wharton Wilde’s again, we planned to show them how much we had learned throughout the course of the tournament. During the first couple of minutes of play, our fearless captain Claire was taken out by an ankle injury. HBS now had to play with zero subs for the remainder of the game. The game ended 0-0. To decide the championship, the teams would have to play into overtime, each team losing a member every minute until only three members remained. Four minutes later, the HBS team was pared down to Therese, Mandissa, and Jannike. After HBS gave an impressive display of teamwork in passing the ball up the field, Wharton’s former all-star slipped by one last time to score the final try. Although we had placed second in the tournament, we were all thrilled by our accomplishment of playing so well as a team. With a little more training over the winter, we plan to be a serious force to reckon with come Duke’s tournament next April!
Thrilled by our efforts, the team dressed for a night on the town. We enjoyed the bbq with the rest of the teams and then headed to the center of Philadelphia for an evening of dancing and drinking. While showing their stuff on the dance floor, the ladies heard one fellow from Cornell comment, “Man, we so need to get a women’s team to come on tour with us!”