With a home field advantage this weekend, the women’s rugby club team (3-0 Southern California Rugby Football Union) stomped on its competition, winning two matches and moving closer to obtaining a bid to Nationals.
The Gauchos came off of two weekend byes to defeat rival Arizona State University 16-5 on Saturday. On Sunday morning, UCSB’s momentum brought it a 62-0 victory against Occidental College.
“This past weekend showed we have a lot of depth, even with injuries,” junior flanker and captain Phoebe Boone said. “We have plenty of girls on the team who can do well. Especially when we watch a lot of our rookies play, we see that we have so much talent with our club.”
Junior eight-man Blair Groefsema scored three tries against Occidental and one against ASU. Junior Courtney Warehouse suffered a shoulder injury and is expected to be out for a few weeks. In her absence, junior Daralisa Cheung came in at the half against ASU and took over four different positions, scoring two tries.
“Courtney is incredibly tough to replace, but we have girls who know the position,” Boone said. “She should be back in four to six weeks, but we’re hoping she’s back in two. We’re playing ASU again in Arizona in two weeks. If she’s not ready by then, we definitely need her back for UCSD in three weeks.”
Santa Barbara has had to face its share of injuries this year, but that hasn’t held the Gauchos back. Earlier in the season, three players suffered season-ending injuries and this weekend, Boone sprained her ankle. A handful of girls pulled their quads and broke their fingers, but Boone says that’s standard for a rugby match.
The next big hurdle for the Gauchos will be the match against San Diego on Feb. 26. In the past few years, the Tritons have kept the Gauchos from a bid to Nationals and now UCSB would like to return the favor.
“This weekend was definitely a huge win against ASU,” Boone said. “We weren’t nervous, but we knew we had our work cut out for us. We knew what we had to work on and how we had to beat them and implemented our practice perfectly in the game. We didn’t even play [to the] best to our abilities, but we never felt behind. It was smooth sailing and we’re very confident about our ability to take UCSD.”