A division below, Bengals come out on top


ennifer Jones Brzyski

Molly Gorski runs the ball against UB

Patrick Koster, Reporter

Freshman winger Carlee Cockrell flicks the ball back to senior captain Kala Crawford on the outside. A UB defender trails close behind, but Crawford shakes her off. Another wave of defenders pursue, but they’re too late. Crawford is off to the races.

Crawford had several tries similar to that one to help lead Buffalo State women’s club rugby to a 48-19 victory over Division I University at Buffalo on Saturday.

“I was fortunate enough to be there, but we had great offloads,” said Crawford, who scored five tries in the win. “It would have never worked if it weren’t for, for instance, Flowers, who gave me an awesome pass [and] Carlee, who gave me another awesome offload. As much as it’s a single effort to get there, to have it all start up, it’s 100 percent a team effort.”

It was the last regular season game for Buffalo State and the last for many of the team’s seniors. The Bengals started off slow with UB scoring the first try of the game, however, Buffalo State answered back with two tries of their own from Emily Stefanski and Crawford.

“I think they started strong, but I also think we started a little flat, maybe even a little intimidated,” Crawford said. “But they came out, they scored first, and that kind of sparked a fire in us and it really pushed us to move forward and just to not back down.”

From that point on, Buffalo State started to gain traction and momentum shifted their way. That momentum would be carried throughout most of the game, as the Bulls couldn’t manage to make another try until the beginning of the second half.

Stefanski scored Buffalo State’s first try. Liz Flowers and senior flanker Gena Okai scored one try each. Emmy Wolfe had three conversion kicks during the game.

“I think all season we have been playing well together,” Coach Jenn Jenkinson said, “and I think we were very prepared for today’s game and the style of play that UB has. I’d say we were pretty evenly matched on a lot of fronts. This was a game where we were really met with an aggressive defense by UB.”

Senior captain Mary Sica said that there were a lot of good rucks with Buffalo State’s forwards. Sica thought that her team was catching and making plays more efficiently against UB.

“We’ve been working a lot on being aggressive on defense,” Crawford said, “firing up and being able to bounce back when somebody does push us back against our own try lines. We were finding ourselves in that position a lot against UB, so the fact that we were able to combat that, and we were also working on kicking, forming platforms, firing up. Everything we’ve done up to this point has led up to this game.”

Before going into the game against UB, the women’s team was in first place in their division. An Ithaca win over Fredonia bounced them out of the first place spot. With the Bengals now the tentative second seed, they will most likely be travelling northeast to face their next opponent in the playoffs.

“We worked hard, we didn’t let it get to our heads that we were ahead, and we just pulled it together,” sophomore fullback Molly Gorski said. “We’re a really strong team all together. We’re really focused and we want to do well this season, trying to go all the way in the playoffs.”

The men’s team is currently in first place in the West bracket of their division. The team had a bye over the weekend, but scrimmaged  against Canisius in preparation for their final regular season game against Niagara.

The women’s playoff game against Vassar College is scheduled for this Saturday, November 8 in Poughkeepsie, NY.

The men’s team will play under the lights at the Niagara University Stadium this Friday at 7 p.m.

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