Women's Rugby Shakes Slow Start, Drops Middlebury in Home Opener

Hayleigh Kein scored twice in Bowdoin's win Saturday (courtesy of www.CIPhotography.com)
Hayleigh Kein scored twice in Bowdoin's win Saturday (courtesy of www.CIPhotography.com)

BRUNSWICK, Maine - The Bowdoin women's rugby team shook off a rusty start to pull away in a 25-5 win over Middlebury on Saturday afternoon.

The Polar Bears (2-0) earn a win in the rematch of the first-ever New England Small College Rugby Conference championship game played last fall with the Panthers. Bowdoin claimed the NESCRC title by a 15-10 score last autumn.

After the teams traded possessions to start the game, Hayleigh Kein broke through for Bowdoin in the 23rd minute. Following a series of passes, Kein broke a pair of tackles and into open space, speeding to the goalline for a 5-0 Polar Bear lead. Seven minutes later, Addison Carvajal won a chase to the ball and kicked the ball downfield soccer-style and recovered it in the endzone to make it 10-0. Middlebury was able to get one back before halftime to trim the lead to 10-5.

The Polar Bears settled down and pulled away in the second half, getting a nice play give-and-go play from Kein and Emily Athanas-Linden, who broke through a gap to make it 15-5. Carvajal added another try before Maura Allen fed Kein for the final score of the day to make it 25-5.

In addition to the scorers, Bowdoin also got great lineout play from Anna Piotti and great tactical kicking by Athanas-Linden with a solid chase strategy from Carvajal, Charlotte Kleiman, and Emily Stewart, among others.

The Bowdoin B-side put on a solid performance in the follow-up contest, taking a 10-5 win. Samantha Hoegle scored both tries with hard evasive running, and with assists to Cammie Ogden-Fung and Georgie Bolduc.

The Polar Bears will return to action on the road next Saturday at Tufts (1:00 p.m.).