The women's rugby team capped its preseason period with a 1-2 performance at the Beantown Preseason Tournament hosted by UMass-Amherst on Saturday. Coming off a successful spring season including tours of Washington, D.C., and Virginia, the women's rugby team is full of optimism for the upcoming season.

With a mix of talented returners such as scrumhalf captain Becky Stevens '11 and Katie Mathews '12, who was named to the Northeast Rugby Union's Under-23 Team last spring, as well as talented newcomers Zara Bowden '13, Sian Riebe '14, Paulina Rodis '14 and Jasmine Ross '14, the team looks forward to building the chemistry and camaraderie necessary for success.

"The away trip with the overnight, traveling and team meal is a great team bonding experience," said head coach MaryBeth Mathews.

The Polar Bears opened the tournament with a 53-3 rout of Williams College. The scoring against Williams in the first half was led by Stevens, who had two tries and three conversions. The first-half scoring continued with successful tries from Rebecca Silva '11, captain Loryn Fridie '11 and Bowden. The second half was wrapped up with four more Polar Bear tries coming from Helen White '13, Carolyn Levin '11, Danielle McAvoy '13 and Kenzie Novak '12.

The team, however, struggled against UVM and was shut out 34-0. The Polar Bears failed to maintain possession and gave up six tries and two conversions.

Coach Mathews was not displeased with the result of the preseason match, though, and said "We don't go [to the Beantown Tournament] to win, we go to get everyone some playing time and to try different combinations and strategies."

On Sunday, the Polar Bears faced off against the Engineers of MIT in the semifinal.

The Polar Bears fell behind in the first half when the Engineers converted a try that had been scored directly between the goalposts. The players worked very hard on both offense and defense in the fairly-even matchup.

The Polar Bears rallied in the second half, and after winning a scrum on the 22-meter line, McAvoy fed scrumhalf Stevens who forged ahead 15 meters before dumping it back to McAvoy for another five meters. The move collapsed the Engineer defense on McAvoy and she was able to feed the ball beautifully to speedy winger Kerry Townsend '13 who now had an open edge on the Engineer defense and was able to speed around the corner and touch the ball down in the end zone.

Unfortunately, the tough angle on the conversion kick resulted in a missed conversion leaving the final score at 7-5 in favor of the Engineers. Stevens, Allison Dupont '12, Helen Midney '12, Novak and Dorothy Pei '11 put forth strong defensive efforts all throughout the game.

Aside from the poor play in the UVM match, Bowdoin comes out of the weekend pleased overall with the play and the level of experience gained by both returners and rookies.

"The tournament also serves as an introduction for new players to the culture of rugby, which is so huge in New England," said Mathews. "Almost a third of the nation's teams are located in this region."

"The tournament was really eye-opening because I've never seen rugby played," said Ana Ibanez '14. "It was cool to travel with the team and see them play. You got to see them be super intense and hit some other girls."

Bowdoin opens the New England Rugby Union season with a league match against Northeastern University on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Boston.

"Northeastern is fairly one-dimensional in that they like to play a forward's game," said Mathews. "So if our forwards come ready to go on an aggressive footing, we should do well."

The Polar Bears won their last meeting with the Huskies 34-0.