Thursday, June 05, 2008

Summertime and the livings easy...

School's been out for a few weeks now and I'm just sitting back and relaxing. As I already blogged, we lost at Sweet 16s but I did make it out to Stanford to watch the DI championship games at Final Fours. The Stanford vs. Penn State game was a bit boring to be honest. I've really enjoyed watching Penn State the previous two years but this year it was like neither team could turn it on. It felt more like a game of attrition. As for the Cal vs. BYU game, that was more than a bit boring. Cal won and did so while playing some very pretty rugby but there was nothing truly exciting. At least the women's game had some nailbiting moments even if neither team was playing its best. In the men's game, Cal seemed to score before I even knew the game had started. In a championship there should at least be some chance that either team could win but BYU might as well not been on the field for all the fight they put up.

As for end of the year news, we had our banquet and said goodbye to our seniors. We also had officer elections and yours truly is the new president. Whee. Time for some tough love.

For anyone who's interested, I think we and the All Blues are putting together a joint 7s team. If you happen to be in the Berkeley area and want in, then contact me and I'll get you in touch with the right people. They'll be playing in the Palo Alto 7s tournament and the Midnight Rugby tournament in Las Vegas.

Lastly, a friend of mine and a former Cal player is looking to put together a team in the South Bay around San Jose. If that sparks some interest, lemme know and I'll get you in contact with her.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sweet 16's in Alburquerque, NM

It was a long weekend but so worth it. We arrived late Thursday night and had a walk through Friday morning. The rest of the day was spent either resting, doing homework or watching some of the other games.

Our first game was bright and early on Saturday against Texas A&M. We lost but honestly, that was probably the hardest our team has every played. We played good defense but our problem was ball possession. They were good ruckers and we...well, we were not. When we did have ball in hand we were able to do things but it just didn't happen that often. Despite all the hype of the speed in their backline, I think we had more and they weren't able to run around us. They were able to bang it up the middle and their scrum was really good. Our number 1 said that the prop she went against was probably the best she had ever scrummed against. They did get tired in the second half and their backs did not want to tackle, which helped us come back and score two tries. Overall it was a game to be proud of. We lost but we kept in the game the whole time.

The game against Vassar on Sunday was not nearly as fun. Our team was tired and it showed. They just looked like they wanted it more. We did score 12 points again in the second half so it's not like we gave up. It was interesting to watch the Vassar team. It was pretty much a team of the 8, 9, and 10. The centers either were skipped or passed the ball back to the flyhalf. The back three could run but their catching was not up to par. I like that our team has skills across the board, not just in one particular player. Their flyhalf was very impressive though. She had good field vision and could kick.

We lost our two games but I'm still proud of our team. Our coach gave us a breakdown of the experience we had in our starting 15 and it's obvious that we're a very young team. We had only two four year players and only 3 or 4 three year players. Everyone else was either a first year vet or a rookie. I think that's pretty impressive especially compared to last year. We had a team stacked with third and fourth year players last year and high expectations to go with but we still didn't make it to Sweet 16's. This year with a team, that quite frankly did not impress me when I first saw them play Santa Cruz in January, we made it. So even though it's over and even though we didn't win, I'm satisfied. I think we put ourselves in a good place for next year.

As a whole our league did pretty well. Stanford is in the Final Four, both Davis and Chico made it to Elite Eight, and we most likely maintained the ranking we had coming in. The Cal men, of course, owned and St. Mary's also made it to Final Four. Unfortunately, they will be playing each other in the semifinals.

As for the actual event, I liked that everyone was in one place but I did have some grips.

Medical prepardness: One of our girls had an ashma attack that required her to go to the hospital. It took 30 minutes from the time we told the event staff that she needed an ambulance to the time the ambulance got there. That's just ridiculous. Yes, they were doing on site stuff to help her but in a tournament that has 48 teams playing a high contact sport there should be an ambulance waiting on site. It's just stupid not to have that.

Event gear: They made pink shirts. Pink? Seriously? I bought one because that was the only medium left but the only time I'll ever wear it is when everything else is in the laundry hamper. I understand that some people may like the pink but they should have ordered more of the green and blue. Also, order more smalls next time! We may play rugby but that does not mean we're all of amazon proportions. In the end we're young fit women in college, which means that when the shirts are in men sizes that most of us will probably wear small or medium.

Stagger the games: I would have liked to watch the Chico vs. Penn State game but I couldn't because it was at the same time as our game against Vassar.

Make shaded seating: The players want to watch other games but we can't sit out in the sun all day without the sun draining us for our own games.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Countdown to Sweet 16s

We're leaving Thursday evening for Albuquerque (Seriously, Albuquergue? A balloon park, wtf?). Between now and then I have several chapters to read, people I need to talk to, laundry to do, classes to sign up for, a resume to write and oh yea...a midterm. Wheee. Not that I'm not extremely excited. I'm just going to be running around like a chicken with it's head cut off until I get on that plane.

We'll arrive late Thursday night. On Friday, we'll have a short walk through and then just rest and maybe catch a game or two. Our game against Texas A&M will be at 9 o'clock Saturday morning. Whether we win or lose, our second game will be on Sunday at 8:30 am. Our opponent will either be Navy or Vassar.

Everyone has been going really hard at practice which is nice to see. We're just trying to do some last minute tune ups.

I don't quite know how to feel about Texas A&M. We are clearly the underdogs but that doesn't bother me. Honestly, we face some of the hardest teams in the nation during regular league season so I don't think they'll have anything that we haven't already seen. It will be whether or not we come out hard, and play smart. I'm not saying they're not good. I'm sure they are but between Stanford, Chico, Davis and even Reno and Humboldt, we've seen heart, speedy backs, scary forwards, and everything else. We've seen it; we know how to and can deal with it; we just have to do it. With us you never quite know which team is going to take the field. Anyways, like our coach said, we have to win because it just wouldn't be Sweet 16s without us playing a military school.

I'm really interested in how the whole 48 teams in one place is going to work. It's cool that they put everyone together. I never understood why they made half the the DI teams go to one state and the other half to another but I'm also not entirely sure that 48 teams is manageable. I'm ready for it to be a bit chaotic.

Good luck to all the NorCal schools!
Good luck to the Cal men, Stanford, Chico, and Davis!
Also, positive thoughts for Santa Cruz!
And for Claremont because that's my hometown!
And for UCLA because I'll always be a SoCal girl!
Finally, lots of good luck to US! Yay, we're going to nationals!

Now that I've used enough exclamation points to rival a middle school girl talking about her first crush, I'm going to go study. Tchau tchau.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Season and Playoffs Recap

Okay so I've been really bad about blogging. It's just not a priority. Oh well. Moving on...

We had our home game against Humboldt on Witter Field. We won and it was pretty. It was too long ago for me to remember the score or even whether we won by a small margin or blew them out of the water. It was good to win in front of all the family and friends that turned out. We had our alumni banquet afterwards and raised a good amount of money which is always a good thing.

Our final game of the season was against Chico. We played in Memorial Stadium. We lost, and badly. Chico was firing on all cylinders and we just couldn't stop them from breaking through. We got better as the game went on but that meant there were longer breaks between them scoring on us, not a comeback.

Over spring break, we went up to Canada to play UBC. They beat us. It was freezing, windy and rainy but I played the entire second half, which is the longest I've played since coming back so I was happy.

Playoffs were this past weekend. We handily beat University of Oregon. Things were a little slow in the first half but we turned it on in the second half. It was a good game and I was impressed by their behavior after the game. They came over as a team to where we were stretching to congratulate us and wish us luck. It was very classy. I talked to one of their players for a bit and I feel sorry for their team. There are only 3 teams in their league and so it is hard for them to get games. Then they have to come down for playoffs where they get repeatedly beat. It's not that they're bad. I think it's just that we have more playing opportunities. OSU didn't even show so Chico got a bye.

We played Chico the second day for seeding going into Sweet 16s. We lost terribly. We had about zero ball possession. We just were not on our game. It was not pretty to watch. It was also not the most friendly game. There were a lot of uncalled penalties, such as playing the ball on the ground. There were so many in fact, that the touch judges talked to the ref at half time. Also, one girl took a swing at our center and another girl clearly played our wing when she didn't have the ball. I have a lot of respect for Chico. They play well and with heart and off the field they are generally one of the friendlier teams in our league. In the most recent games against them, I would say things have been pretty clean which is why I don't quite get what happened on Saturday. When you're winning by that large of a margin there is no reason not to play cleanly. Now I wasn't on the field so maybe there is stuff that I don't know about but that's how I see it.

Regardless of that loss, we're going to Sweet 16s! Yay! The team has been working really hard this past week. We're playing Texas A&M so that should be interesting.

On another note, Goff seems to think that we don't belong at Sweet 16s. To this I say, we earned our spot. We won the game that we needed to win. We have no control over the seeding. Whether or not it was "fair" to one team or another, we did what we had to do to get to nationals and I'm damn proud of my team for doing that. As for Goff's pet team, BYU, I don't think there is enough information yet to make a good judgement on them. They lost to Stanford and then won against Reno. Neither of those results are all that ground breaking. No, they did not lose to Stanford by all that big of a margin but neither did we when we played them in league. Truth is, Stanford is still good but not the team they've been the past couple of years. As for beating Reno, I saw a bit of the game and while I liked that BYU was flexible on offense, nothing that they were doing was all that remarkable. They look like another good, solid team. No more and no less. They don't deserve to be 8th in the seedings for regional playoffs but until they play a league season against competitive teams I don't think they should be touted as one of the best teams around as Goff does.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Two games, Two losses

We played UC Davis on Treasure Island last weekend and lost hard. The final score was 20-5. Thankfully we did score one try but, after how well the team had been playing, it was still a disappointment. We just couldn't seem to get any momentum going. There would be a good individual effort but then we would lose the ball. It didn't help that there were some questionable calls made and that the Davis pack couldn't seem to stay on their feet in the scrum. I've never understood the point of diving on the engage. It's incredibly painful to hit the ground face first and there's a huge risk of injury. If a player can't scrum, don't have them in the tight five. It's common sense. At the end of the day though, we just didn't play our game and Davis took full adventage of that.

Yesterday against Stanford was a whole different story. We still lost but the final score was 19-10. We played well and we played together. The ref kept a tight game but I think that helped us, to be honest. Both sides had plenty of penalties called on them but I think we dealt with it better. Of course it would have been nice to get another win but considering that Stanford just recently beat Chico by a spread of 20 some odd points, I'm pretty proud of our team.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bringing things up to speed...

It's been a long time since I last updated. In that span of time we had our clinic with UCSC, had Double Days, played in the Stanford Invitational, beat UN Reno in our first league match, and had a scrimmage with Stanford. Needless to say, it's been a busy month or so.

We kicked off Double Days with the clinic and game against UCSC. We lost. We got better as the game went on but in the end we still lost. A week later though, it was a whole 'nother story. We came in second at the Stanford Invitational, losing in the final game to Stanford. It was definitely a confidence builder to see the team come together and beat some pretty good sides. Then we went to Reno for the first game of the season. We won by a nice margin but Reno put up one hell of a fight. They played down a couple of players almost the entire game so their efforts were pretty impressive. They might not have numbers but they do have heart. Finally, this past Saturday, we played a Stanford mostly B side. We lost but not too badly and some of our key players weren't on the field. But guess what?! I played! It was only for about 10 minutes because I was still recovering from the lovely 103.7 degree fever I had a few days before and because I managed to sprain my ankle but still! I was pleased and it felt good to be back after over a year.

This weekend is our game against UC Davis. We'll be playing on Treasure Island and hopefully the good weather will holdout. TI in the rain and wind is no fun.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


It looks like Sweet 16s will be New Mexico and then Final Fours will be at Stanford again. I like that all the teams will be together for Sweet 16s, not split into 2 places like in the past few years. I always thought that was a bit odd. Hopefully, the fields in New Mexico will be full sized. The ones in Florida were so short that you could make penalty kicks from the half. Bit ridiculous. This whole thing does seem a bit unfair to the teams on the East Coast but its a pretty sweet deal for us. Not having to include a possible trip to Florida in our budget will make things so much easier, especially if we're going to Canada over Spring Break like I hope we are.