Amherst defeated Boston University 15-10 on Saturday. In a well-played first half, the Jeffs scored all 15 points. Fullback Reed Knox ’04 started the scoring for Amherst with a penalty kick, which gave the Jeffs a 3-0 lead. Prop Mark Lentz ’05 added to the Amherst lead by scoring a try, good for five points, which put the Jeffs up by eight. Knox kicked an extra two points to solidify Amherst’s margin.
Co-captain prop Irv Rakhlin ’04 scored a try before the end of the half to give the Jeffs a seemingly insurmountable 15-0 lead. Though this would be all the scoring the team needed, the game was not over yet.
“The first half was really good for us,” said Rakhlin. “Our defense was really strong, and our offense put a lot of pressure on BU.”
“We were really trying to play our own game, running phases,” added co-captain inside center Joe Gallant ’04.
In the second half, BU came back with two tries relatively early to put Amherst back on its toes. “We let down a little bit in the second half,” said Rakhlin, “but we got tough in the end and prevented them from scoring more points.”
According to Gallant, “It was a sloppy game and ours to lose.” However, the Jeffs did not lose and hung on, bolstered by strong defensive play, to get the win.
Rakhlin complimented his teammates on a true team effort, marked by “really balanced play from both the forwards and the backs.”
“Gallant played a really good game at inside center. He had some strong runs and good defense,” said Rahklin, who also commended the play of Sam Sturm ’06. “Our young fly half, Sam, is coming along; he played well in the first three games of the season” and also in Saturday’s match.
With the win, the Jeffs brought their fall record to 2-2. Amherst had previously defeated Norwich University in their first game of the season before falling to Northeastern University and then the University of Massachusetts. The win against BU puts Amherst in second place in the Green League of the New England Rugby Football Union (NERFU). On Saturday, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) comes to Amherst to challenge the Jeffs at 1 p.m. UNH is currently first place in the league.
“Our goal for the year is to make the Div. I playoffs in the Northeast,” said Rakhlin. He encourages people to come out and support the team this weekend in the key match.
The women’s squad, which entered the game with a 2-0 record, did not fare as well as the men’s this past weekend. Though they defeated Williams at a tournament at the University of Massachusetts earlier in the season, they fell on Saturday, 13-5.
The score, however, is misleading to those unfamiliar with the sport. “It was a really close game,” said co-captain eight man Gina Scribner ’04. “Scoring wise, 13-5 is nothing in rugby.”
Scrum half Katie Fitzgerald ’06 scored Amherst’s only try in the first half. At halftime, Amherst led 5-3. However, Williams came back in the second half and scored two tries to win.
Scribner attributed Amherst’s loss largely to mental complacency. “I wish we hadn’t played them earlier in the season,” she said. “We weren’t focused enough all week, and we made an assumption that we shouldn’t have made.” She added, “We went in expecting to win.”
Until Saturday, wing Jasmin Singleton ’06 had scored a try every weekend. Unfortunately, in this match, “the ball didn’t get out to her,” according to Scribner. Amherst could match up with Williams again at the end of October in the NERFU tournament. The team’s goal is to advance as far as last year, when they were within one victory of a berth at the national tournament.
Before tournament play, however, comes a match at Wesleyan this Saturday. “We’re up for some pretty strenuous practices this week,” said Scribner. With renewed mental focus and desire, the team should return to their winning ways on Saturday.