Saturday, October 25, 2008

Big Day For Coyote Rugby

University of South Dakota V Wayne State

The USD women hosted the nationally ranked Wayne State Women and almost pulled off the upset of the season. Wayne are currently #6 in the Women's D2 national rankings and this game was clearly going to be a test for the team as they lost the same fixture last year by fifty points. The first half showed that this was a much different USD team than the one that lost it's season opener to SDSU. Playing most of the game in the Wayne end the Coyotes showed they had the desire and personnel to go toe to toe with one of the country's top teams. On two occasions the players were able to get over the Wayne goal line only to have the ref say he was unsighted and missed the grounding of the ball. Somewhat against the run of play the Wayne women scored first when a ball squirted out of the scrum and a Wayne player was able to pick up the loose ball and crash over for the five points. The USD women didn't drop their heads and continued to attack the Wayne goal line. From a scrum deep in the Wayne half the ball was sent out to the backs and flyhalf Darla Brandt went in for the score. Doni Gustafson kicked the conversion and the Coyotes found themselves leading 7-5 at halftime.

The second half was similar to the first with both teams having to work hard to create scoring chances and with the defenses dominating. With seven minutes left in the game the Wayne Women worked the ball wide and were able to score in the corner to take a 7-10 lead. The last six minutes saw the Coyotes throw everything into attack and they had several opportunities to score. In the final minute Doni Gustafson attacked the weakside and fed the ball to Alex Brummer who drove towards the goal line only to be knocked into touch at the corner flag. The final whistle went with Wayne clinging to to their 7-10 lead and the Coyotes realizing that they can play with a Nationally ranked team. While everyone played incredibly well it was the play of Miranda Bakley that stood out. With several important tackles and some charging runs the lock was a force on offense and defense.

It's possible that both teams will face each other again at the Great Plains Tournament next Saturday.

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