The UCSB women’s rugby team ended its season this past month at the national finals in Pennsylvania. Finally falling at the hands of Brown University 46-31, the Gauchos finished the season ranked 13th in the nation.
“We really should have gone further and played better, but we started slow in each game and couldn’t catch up late,” senior outside center Lisa Green said.
The Gauchos (8-2 overall) made it to the United States Rugby Association’s annual sweet 16 tournament, which features the top-ranked schools in the nation, for the fourth straight year after going undefeated in league play. UCSB played the likes of UCLA, UCSD and Arizona State in league play and added wins over Division II foes Claremont-McKenna and Arizona to compile an 8-0 record in the Southern California Rugby Union.
“Our goal was to make the final four, but, overall, we are very pleased with our season,” said senior center Daralisa Cheung.
The Gauchos appeared in the sweet 16 as the number 10 seed, and began by playing the sixth ranked squad in the nation, the University of New Mexico. After a rough start, the Gauchos picked up play behind senior forward AnnaMarie Coniglio, but still fell 28-10.
Coming off of their first round loss, the Gauchos then matched up with Brown, which met a similar first-round fate, in a battle for rankings. Again, the Gauchos started off slow, falling behind big in the first half, but turned things around when senior eighth man Kara Mathews scored multiple times.
“We had great chemistry all year and this team showed a lot of toughness in the later parts of each game to come back and stay strong,” said Cheung.
UCSB finished last season ranked #8 in the nation.