The women's rugby team will continue its spring training season in a match against Merrimac College Friday evening.

"They [Merrimac] are a new team that started three years ago," said head coach Marybeth Mathews, "but because they may have fewer upperclassmen abroad than we do, they should present a good challenge for us."

The women's rugby team uses the spring season and its slate of friendly matches to recruit new players and sharpen skill sets.

"The spring season gives us an opportunity to attract new players and really work on personal and unit skills," said Mathews. "The extra experience builds comfort levels and improves the safety of the contact sport."

"The spring season is not as competitive as the fall season," said captain Becky Stevens '11, "So we emphasize teaching and learning over winning."

The Polar Bears played against Colby last Saturday, taking a 17-12 victory.

The Bears scored their first try on a penalty play. First year Anissa Tanksley pushed into the try zone through a crowd of Mule defenders. Stevens successfully converted the try.

"Considering it was our first game since November, I felt as if we played really well," said Stevens. "While we made mistakes, it was definitely a great learning opportunity."

Tanksley found the try zone again after a strong ball carrying and off loading that pierced the Colby defence.

"As expected, coming out of a cold snowy spring so far, the game was sloppy, I would not have expected perfection," said Mathews. "There were individuals that played really well and picked up where they left off in the fall and some great learning moments for all the freshmen."

Bowdoin scored another try and Colby scored twice and converted once for a final score of 17-12 in favor of the Polar Bears.

"Our defense wasn't as cohesive as it will be with so many new players," said Mathews, "Colby had some good runners to capitalize on a beautiful overload and scored on the wing."

Colby will become an even more familiar opponent as through a restructuring effort the women's rugby team will be joining a NESCAC conference.

Against Merrimack this Friday the team will look to improve skill sets and spread playing time around.

"We are preparing to play Merrimack by practicing rucking and ball placement," said Stevens, "and of course working on our fitness."