The women's rugby team fell 19-17 against the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Goats last Saturday.

Bowdoin's first-half scoring originated in good coordinated play with the wingers Kerry Townsend '13 and Elsbeth Paige-Jeffers '10.

The first try by Townsend was the result of good forward pressure that allowed the Polar Bears to retain possession. A string of good passing down the backline to Townsend allowed her to sprint in for the five-point try.

Paige-Jeffers scored off of a well-placed deep corner kick by flyhalf Katie Mathews '12. Paige-Jeffers was able to outrun the Goat's defense for half of the field to field the bouncing kick and stroll into the end goal area, allowing Mathews to make the two-point conversion.

Bowdoin entered the second half leading WPI 12-5.

Bowdoin play was highlighted by the skills and leadership of Nylea Bivins '12, along with the determined play of Vanessa Rendon-Vasquez '13, Allie Dupont '12, Mathews and Paige-Jeffers.

The second half started with a bit of controversy, as a try by Uche Esonu '13 was unseen by the out-of-position referee and waved off as a touchback for WPI.

"[The referee] was just doing his job to the best of his ability," said Head Coach MaryBeth Mathews. "Because it's spring season and not a league game, I don't think it's a big deal at all."

After that unfortunate setback, the team scored again through Townsend. Although the Polar Bears picked up their level of play, the Goats managed to score on them twice. This included a try in the last few minutes that, with a successful conversion, put them ahead at the official score of 19-17.

The highlight of the game for Bowdoin was excellent play by rookies to the game.

For their first real rugby match, newcomers Lauren Day-Smith '13, Jen Nova '13, Sara Davenport '13, Andrea Koenigsberg '13 and Zara Bowden '13 each played very well.

"It was great to see them run with the ball and taste their first tackles," said MaryBeth Mathews. "There's a lot of speed and potential in this group of first years and the future could be promising for them."

This future was neatly supported in the game by the exemplary play of seniors Leah Stecher and Hannah Larson. They adhered to the team value of supporting each other's growth by coordinating a backline full of very new players during the second half.

"Their patience, diligence, skills and attitude helped a great deal," said MaryBeth Mathews. "And I know the newer players benefitted from this positive experience."

On Sunday, five Bowdoin players traveled to Amherst to play in the NERFU Cup (New England Rugby Football Union) in order to play for the NERFU North Select Side team.

Paige-Jeffers, Larson, Dupont, Mathews and Danielle Carniaux '10 attended a day of short rugby games with other New England and New York All Star teams.

Mathews and Dartmouth's coach Deb Archambault coached the team, comprised of players from Northeaster, University of Maine-Orono, Darmouth, Merrimack and University of Vermont.

The team triumphed over the New York team 41-0 but lost to the NERFU East team.

This event was also a selection vehicle for the Northeast Rugby Union (NRU) U-23 All Star team, to be announced later this week. The NRU is one of seven territories in the U.S. who will field an U-23 team for national competition in June.

Because of a team decision to not attend the Maine Cup this Saturday, this was the last full team game of the season. However, some Bowdoin players have the chance to be selected for the NRU U-23 team.