This spring break, the Princeton University Women’s Rugby Football Club departed Princeton, New Jersey to settle in beautiful San Diego, California for their annual Spring Training Tour. Throughout the tour, the team was also fortunate to have the continued support of Princeton alumnae in the San Diego area who put together two panels containing alumnae generous enough to share their time to give career and rugby related advice. When not undergoing vigorous practices in preparation for the oncoming season, the team was also able to fit in additional activities to truly enjoy all San Diego had to offer. Specifically, the team traveled to the San Diego Aquarium, the US Midway Museum, and the Amusement Park when not in practice.

Throughout the tour, the team was privileged to be under the guidance of multiple guest coaches, including Chris Brown, the head coach of the U.S. National Women’s Sevens Team, Josie Zilluca, current head coach for the Atlantis Rugby Corporation, and Naya Tapper, a current wing for the USA Women’s National 7s team. Brown coached the team on March 24th and 25th, on the 26th, and Tapper on March 27th.With the support of the guest coaches, the team was able to collectively gain new strategies for both passing and tackling measures which will be imperative for the upcoming 7s season. Similarly, the team had the importance of communication in the game reinforced by the various drills and measures put together by the coaches and executed during practice.

            Prior to the end of tour, on March 23rd, 2019, the team was able to have a scrimmage against the Rugby Club of Mira Costa College (Mira Costa Islands) team for the equivalent of eight individual sevens’ halves, or four games. This was the first time playing 7s rugby in a game setting for many rookie players, if not also their first game of rugby entirely. There was an entirely new roster of players subbed in for every half, with all eligible players seeing at least one full game (2 halves) worth of playing time.

Game 1:

In the first half, Mira Costs kicked off before promptly scoring a try to bring the score to 0-5. They would go on to score two additional tries, bringing the score to 0-15, before the Tigers gain some momentum and Alexis Ryswyk scores their only try of this half to bring the score to 5-15. Mira Costa would then swiftly go on to score another try to bring the score for the first half to 5-20.

Coming into the second half, Princeton kicks off and senior Kai Liu promptly scores a try, for a total score of 15-20. Princeton does not falter during this half and team member, Kaley Ubellacker, scores another try for the team, whereas Mira Costa is unable to score again.

Final Score: Princeton 15, Mira Costa 20

Game 2:

In the first half, Mira Costa scores a try within the first two minutes. However, senior Alicia Wang of the Princeton also scores a try, bringing the score to an even 5-5, where it will remain for the rest of the half.

In the second half, Mariah McVey scores her first try of the 7s season for the Tigers, and follows, only a minute later, with another. Princeton leads 15-5. After a few minutes of chaos on the field, senior Kate Denner scores her first try of the season. Only two minutes later she makes a break to score her second try of the half.

Final Score: Princeton 25, Mira Costa 5

Game 3:

            The first half begins with a kickoff from Princeton. Within the first few seconds, rookie Ayanna Mathews makes a break to score her first ever try! Quickly, Mira Costa seizes the opportunity to make a try after spending majority of the first two minutes on Princeton’s side of the field, bringing the score to an even 5-5. This is quickly changed as Mira Costa makes their second try of the half. Sydney Hsu is later taken out of the half due to an injury and is replaced by Sarah Dillender. A Mira Costa players makes a quick break to obtain another try for their teams right before the end of the half. The score is then 5-15.

In the second half, Mira Costa scores a quick try after receiving a kick from Princeton’s Sarah Dillender. Minutes later, Mira Costa does so again, right before Ayanna Mathews subs in for JT (Jessica Tao). After a few minutes of short passes near the 50-meter line and rucking between the two teams, Ayanna Mathews receives a pass and breaks through Mira Costa’s defense to score her second try of the game, slightly closing the gap between the team and Mira Costa at 10-25. The half is finished out with another try from Mira Costa.

Final Score: Princeton 10, Mira Costa-30

Game 4:

In the final first half, Princeton starts off with great momentum, and stops the Mira Costa team from scoring for the first two minutes of the game, largely on Mira Costa’s side of the field. Princeton co-Captain Felicia Saravo then comes from the wing to score the first try of the game. However, Princeton does not let up, and only a minute of game play later, the quickly recovered Sydney Hsu scores a second try. Prior to the end of the half, Felicia makes another try for the team, bringing the score to 15-0.

In the second half, after a few minutes of play on Princeton’s end of the field, Ayanna Mathews travels 80 meters to make a try for Princeton. This is followed minutes later by Mira Costa’s first try of the game. The score is then 20-5. However, Mira Costa does not get another chance to score on the Tigers, and instead, rookie Ange Ndayishimiye, brings the half to a close after scoring her first try of the 7s season.

Final Score: Princeton 25, Mira Costa 5