The Santa Barbara women’s rugby team traveled to San Diego for the UCSD’s annual Scrum by the Sea tournament this past weekend.
The Gauchos took on traditional rugby powerhouse Berkeley in their first match of the day, losing 10-3. This was the first-ever meeting between UCSB and the Golden Bears, who would go on to the semifinals of the tournament.
“[We’ve] never played Berkeley before, so it was good to see what they’re capable of,” senior captain Phoebe Boone said.
After the close loss, Santa Barbara would go on to demolish its next two opponents, Occidental College and Arizona State University, with a combined score of 36-0. The team dominated the two schools with a stifling defense and reliable offense, scoring tries at will in both games. The win against rival ASU was particularly satisfying after last year’s game ended in a brawl. Santa Barbara will see the Sun Devils twice more this season.
“[One] of the dirtiest rugby games I’ve ever seen,” Boone said in reference to last year’s match. “But seeing them this weekend, they don’t have what they did last year. We should beat them again in the winter.”
In the quarterfinal match of the tournament, UCSB fell to UC Davis. Despite almost the entire first string sitting out from injuries sustained in the first three games, the Gauchos kept it close with reserves and rookies taking the field. Fatigue and more injuries would help the Aggies pull away and knock Santa Barbara out of the tournament. UCSB will play Davis again in April.
Of the eleven-team field, the team to watch was, without a doubt, host UCSD. The Tritons went on to win their own tournament after several close matches.
“We know they’re going to be our toughest opponent this year, but watching them play gave us some insights into their team. Their cockiness will hopefully get the best of them later on,” Boone said. The Gauchos will take on San Diego on Jan. 31.
Scouting aside, the tournament was a successful one for UCSB’s relatively young team and its rookies, who saw ample playing time throughout the event. Some of the outstanding players of the tournament were Boone, Niki Palmer, Noelle Huskey, Courtney Warehouse and Ola Besser.
Santa Barbara will host its alumni game this coming Saturday.