October 28, 2012 Middlebury vs. Bates

Final Score 59 – 5, Win

After a lovely evening spent in Cape Elizabeth with Emily Duh’s family, we ventured to Bates for the last game of the regular season. Although playing on turf initially seemed a daunting task, we adapted well to the different type of field than we were used to.

We kicked off to Bates to begin the game, where we immediately dominated play and possession. A Bates’ knock on led to a Middlebury scrum, which prompted a beautiful switch from eight man Sarah “Fraulein Fander” Pfander (’13) to fly half Julia “Extra Sharp” Gulka (’13) for the try. Scrum half Jess “Who let the dog out?” Berry (’13) converted the kick.

Shortly after the Bates kick off, wing Mel “Sandy” Haas (’13) sprinted 60 meters down the touchline to place the misshapen ball in the corner of the try zone. Quick powerful rucking along with skilled ball handling brought the ball within 5 meters of our try zone again. A Bates’ knock on led to another scrum for us. Jess Berry ran to the weak side and offloaded to Sarah Pfander who ran it straight into the try zone.

Up 17-0, some complacent errors led to a brief spell of Bates’ possession, allowing their fly half to run sideways and through our defensive line for a try. This brief pause in which Bates attempted the conversion kick gave us an opportunity to regroup and retain composure. Coming out hard, the backs and forwards worked together to execute a series of creative and effective plays to bring the ball closer to the try line. In a save of NBA caliber, lock Ali “90 Degrees” Hentges (’15) prevented the ball from going out by batting it through her legs, an incredible play that set the stage for our next try, driven through by fullback Julianna “Meet Me at the Watering Hole” Gardner (’13). Another instance of supportive interplay between forwards and backs allowed outside center Stevie “Diva” Durocher (’15.5) to offload the ball to oncoming lock Hannah “Hanukah” Elkin, who stiff-armed and powerfully drove across the try line to finish the half on a strong note.

From the beginning of the second half, we remained on Bates’ defensive half with intensity and focus. Jess Berry collected the ball off our scrum about 10 meters from the try zone, fought through an attempted tackle from the opposing scrum half, faked the switch to Julia Gulka, and passed the ball to inside center Laura “High Tackled” Hoffman (’15), who sprinted through the Bates defensive line to score another try for the Blue.

After yet another series of beautiful quick passes from the back line, Ali Hentges collected the ball and practically strolled through the Bates defensive line for 30 meters, before nonchalantly touching down the ball across the try line. Jess Berry successfully converted the kick to put an extra two on the scoreboard.

After an extensive delay for an injured Bates player, we carried on business as usual. Julianna Gardner broke through a succession of attempted tackles to drive 40 meters into the try zone. Soon after, Sarah “Mini Quiche” Minahan (’14) did a crafty pick-and-go off a breakdown near the try line to place the ball into the zone on the far right. Only a few plays later, Julia Gulka drove the ball over the line after the formation of a ruck, also on the far right side. To mimic her big sister, Sarah Minahan scored the final try of the game in a similar fashion, picking the ball off a scrum to touch the ball down on the far right side of the try zone.


A special shout out to Alex “I Do Work” McKeon (’13) who came back out at wing for her first game back after months out from an ankle injury, and had many great runs and ball handling with the back line. Stevie Durocher also had an amazing game at outside center, running through the Bates’ defensive line and lending support in the rucks on countless occasions.

A huge thanks to all of the friends and family who came out to support us: the Svec’s with their famous brownies and orange slices, the Attwood’s, Mr. Hoffman, and to Jackie, Russ, Maggie, Ben and Emily for feeding and hosting the entire team!


First Half

Julia Gulka (Berry – 2)

Mel Haas – 5

Sarah Pfander – 5

Bates – 5

Julianna Gardner – 5

Hannah Elkin – 5


Second half

Laura Hoffman – 5

Ali Hentges (Berry – 2)

Julianna Gardner – 5

Sarah Minahan – 5

Julia Gulka – 5

Sarah Minahan – 5


October 20, 2012 Middlebury vs. Williams

Final Score 39 – 0, Win

We set off bright and early for Williamstown, Massachusetts, ready to face the Purple Cows in our second to last league game of the season. The sun was shining, and the lovely fall foliage set the scene for a truly beautiful day for rugby.

We started with a kick off from Williams. Confronting the strength and size of the Williams pack may have seemed to be a daunting task, however we came out hard, dominating rucks and maintaining possession. This consistent possession and good hands from the back line allowed the ball to get out to wing Melanie “Usain Bolt” Haas (‘13), who sprinted down the field for the first try of the game. Although we continued to do a good job getting to the rucks quickly, the Williams’ players often managed to drive with more force, which is how Williams tended to gain their possession throughout the half. Their wing received the ball and proceeded to kick it all the way into their try zone, but luckily scrum half Jess “Midriff” Berry (‘13) made an excellent chase and stopped her from scoring. A great quick ball out from the backs combined with Mel’s impossible speed gained her three more tries before the half ended, and we finished the half up 22 – 0.

In the second half we made an effort to change up our game and work on skills to utilize in upcoming games. Fly-half Julia “Seriously Sharp” Gulka (‘13) had an exceptional game, controlling the pace and creativity in the backline, while consistently bringing down any Williams ball-carriers threatening to break through to our defensive line. By her side was inside center Marissa “Melissa” Shaw (‘14) who had amazing runs and tackles throughout the whole game, and may or may not have glue on her hands. A series of punches got the ball closer to the try line, where hooker Rae “Gotta catch ‘em all” Colombo (‘13) was able to drive it over the try line. Continued hard work from the both backs and forwards got the ball out to Mel, netting her 5th try of the game.

Our last try came from fullback Julianna “Sass” Gardner (‘13) who had incredible game, coming through as a strong strike runner throughout our numerous attacking plays. An offload from outside center Stevie “The Feb” Durocher (‘15.5) put Julianna in the perfect position to sprint the final meters to the try line and score on the outside.

Other shout outs: Lock Hannah “Keepin’ it Kosher” Elkin (‘13) made some great runs in support of the backline, leapt and stole some of the Williams’ line outs, and scored a try which was mysteriously declared not a try. Rae Colombo also almost scored a try in the last second of the game, off a pass from Jess Berry, but was ruled out-of-bounds before placing the ball.  

A special thank you to the alums who came and visited this Homecoming Weekend–Evan Pagano (‘12), Logan Gallogly (‘12), Melissa Hayes (‘12), and Krome (‘12)–and all of the parents who made the treck to watch us play–Mr. and Mrs. Berry, Mr. Colombo, Mr. and Mrs. Spfander, and Mr. Hoffman!

First half
Melanie Haas – 5
Melanie Haas – 5
Melanie Haas – 5 (Berry – 2)
Melanie Haas – 5

Second half
Marea Colombo – 5 (Berry – 2)
Melanie Haas – 5
Julianna Gardner – 5

October 13, 2012 Middlebury vs. Bowdoin

Final Score 0 – 26, Loss

We returned to the Rutland field again this week, as our home field is still flooded. We came out very strong in the first half, playing the game entirely on Bowdoin’s defensive half and coming close to scoring many times. Continued attacks finally allowed inside center Laura Hofmann (’15) to break through the Bowdoin defensive line and dive into the try zone. Unfortunately the try was declared “held up” and therefore did not count.

The end of the second half Bowdoin found their stride and began to move the ball closer to their try line. A quick penalty to their forwards allowed them their first try of the game, which was not converted. Another series of punches from their forwards gained them one more converted try before the end of the first half.

Due to three unfortunate injuries in the first half, we were forced to do some rearranging as we headed out into the second half. Marissa Shaw (’14) moved from flanker to inside center where her powerful runs and sure tackles provided stability and experience in the back line. Unfortunately, skillful kicking from Bowdoin’s fly half and strong runs from their inside center led to two more converted tries.

We finally regrouped for the last thirty minutes or so of the second half, playing almost the entire rest of the game within our offensive 22-meter mark. However, despite persistent attacks from both forwards and backs, we were not able to break through Bowdoin’s strong defense.

Although the loss was disappointing, we were proud of our ability to give Bowdoin a worthy opponent after our difficult loss to them last season. We hope to meet them again in playoffs and look forward to another well fought game against them. Thank you to our fans as always, to parents who provided snacks, and to Bowdoin for letting us use their trainer.

We also played Bowdoin’s B-side in a 20-minute game of 11s, which we won 25 – 5 with tries coming from Jess Berry (2), Julianna Gardner (2), and Sarah Minahan.


First Half
Bowdoin – 5
Bowdoin – 7

Second Half
Bowdoin – 7
Bowdoin – 7

October 6, 2012 Middlebury vs. Tufts

Final Score 33 – 0, win

Having been uprooted from our home turf, we made our way to the drier Rutland field for a 1:00 kick off. After a frustrating loss to Tufts last year, we were determined to come out hard against them this season.  And with the support of our fans, parents, and injured players, along with our dedication to playing our hardest, we were able to meet this goal.

We started off the game with a kick off to Tufts. From the beginning, we came up hard and in a defensive line, not allowing the Tufts’ offense to progress forward. Although neither team scored for the first 20 minutes or so, both teams fought hard, with the majority of play in the Tufts’ defensive half. After a series of strong attacks got us close to the try line, scrum half Jess Berry (’13) took the ball off a ruck, faked a switch, and dove into the try zone.

We had another opportunity to score from a series of quick passes from both forwards and backs, in which flanker Katy Svec (’15) had a great run followed by a nice pass out to Stevie “the wonder” Durocher (’15.5). Stevie found the space and ran hard—almost scoring a try if it had not been for the questionable blow of a whistle, just before she touched it down. We continued to play the rest of the half close to our try line, but were held off from scoring by the Tufts’ defense.

We went out into the second half reorganized and ready to run from depth and make more controlled attacks. Our next try came from wing Mel Haas (’13). Although we had knocked the ball out, we were able to regain possession in the lineout, and got the ball all the way out to the wing. Mel ran around their defense and into the try zone, then made a final sprint to place the ball under the uprights. Jess Berry made the kick.

At one point during the half, Tufts’ inside center managed to break through our defensive line. Luckily, full back Julianna Gardner (’13) was there to make a great tackle just before the try line and prevent her from scoring.

We continued to dominate play, maintaining possession and playing in the Tufts’ defensive half. A punch by hooker Rae Colombo (’13) got the ball almost into the try zone. Lock Ali Hentges (’15) was there in support to pick the ball up and dive into the try zone, scoring her first try ever!! Jess Berry made the kick.

Another quick ball out from the backs got the ball into the hands of Julianna Gardner, who went speeding down the sideline and into the try zone for our 4th try of the game. Although the ball was placed far to the outside, Jess Berry made the kick!

In the last few minutes of the game, Tufts was awarded a line out close to their defensive try zone. They decided to go for a drive, but lock Hannah Elkin (’13) managed to strip the ball and get it back to flanker Sarah “Mini” Minahan (’14). Mini then passed the ball to Rae Colombo, who got it to outside center Emily Duh (’14). Duh ran the ball straight under the uprights and into the try zone for our 5th and final try of the game. Jess Berry made the kick.

Other memorable plays: fake out and skip pass by fly half Julia Gulka (’13), incredible rucking by prop Katie Linder (’15), and solid runs from prop Kim Banford (’15) and lock Marissa Shaw (’14).

We then enjoyed pizza and snacks with the Tufts team after the game. Thank you so much to the parents who helped provide food and who came to support us despite the rain!

First half
Jess Berry – 5
Second half
Melanie Haas – 5 (Berry – 2)
Ali Hentges– 5 
(Berry – 2)
Julianna Gardner – 5 (Berry – 2)
Emily Duh – 5
 (Berry – 2)