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Women's Rugby


Rachel Strasdas on attack for the Blue team.
Rachel Strasdas (center) on attack for the Blue team.
Photo by BYU Photo 2020

PROVO, UTAH - The BYU women’s rugby team was eager to step on the field for their first scrimmage of the season. The opponents? Themselves.

Head coach of the reigning national champs, Tom Waqa, wanted to allow the girls to implement what they had been learning in practice since they began their fall season on September, 2.

“We’re excited about the new additions to our team this year,” Waqa explained in an earlier interview, “We like what they are bringing to the team right now and a scrimmage is a great setting to allow them to continue to progress.”

Of the 50 girls that tried out in September, 15 new girls were added to the roster.

For the scrimmage, the BYU squad was divided into a Blue and White team, with an equal mix of experienced and non-experienced players.

“I’m ready for the opportunity to play at a game-like pace, Baylie Duce, a senior wing, said, “I think a scrimmage is what everyone needs.”

Both teams started the match with palpable energy and excitement, despite the lack of fans in the stands due to COVID-19 restrictions. The game was streamed live, and 200 viewers all tuned in at home to watch the game. Kanani Uluave, Camilla Huhem, and Mariann Higgins provided commentary during the match.

Freshman Kate Gormley of the Blue Team scored the first try of the game early as she took advantage of some open space. Sophomore Nicole Lyons followed the try with a conversion. The White Team, however quickly responded, and Makayla Komer had a hard run to put her team on the board making the score 7-5 Blue.

Throughout the first half, both teams moved the ball quickly with lots of kicks and passing, providing the ultimate test of their opponents’ speed and endurance.

At minute 15, Senior Taylor Johnston finished a big drive for White taking her team to a 7-10 advantage. In the last minutes of the half, however, Senior Rachel Strasdas for the Blue team chased down a kick and scored after a 35-meter run taking the score to 14-10.

Senior captains Johnston, Strasdas, Kat Stowers, and Hannah Beagley all made big plays for their teams and coached new players on placement and position.

In the second half, the teams continued to battle offensively scoring tries back to back. Annaliese Curtis, Rachelle Fokken, and Gromley all scored for Blue while Alyssa Erickson had the only score for the White Team in the second half. The final score was 33-15 Blue.

Afterward, both squads congratulated each other with hugs and pats on the back.

“It was fun, yet challenging to play against our teammates, because we all know each other's strengths and weaknesses,” said sophomore Nicole Lyons.

Senior Kainoa Ah Quin who plays flyhalf added, “We wanted a high-intensity game, but we were always conscious of our teammates’ safety.”

The Cougars will have another scrimmage this Friday, Nov. 6 at 5:30 MDT. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no spectators will be allowed but the game will be live-streamed on YouTube here. Follow our social media channels to stay updated.

Missed the first match? Check out the scrimmage here!

Scoring Summary- Gromley (2), Strasdas, Curtis, Fokken, Johnston, Komer, Erickson, Conversions- Lyons (4)

Halftime Score-14-10 Blue

Final Score- 33-15 Blue

White- 1. Aubrie Robinette 2. Alyssa Erickson 3. Hannah Beagley 4. Tayzlie Haack 5. Kelsie Taylor 6. Samantha Craig 7. Riho Kurihara 8. Taylor Johnston 9. Kuulei Uluave 10. Christina Miller 11. Makayla Komer 12. Kathryn Stowers 13. Baylie Duce 14. Alexa Tenney 15. Morgan Spangler

Blue- 1. Marin Chadwick, 2. Kate Rugg, 3. Roxana Penaloza, 4. Morgan Holbrook, 5. Annaliese Curtis, 6. Kara Branchflower, 7. Janette Taufa, 8. Marion Morrow, 9. Maya Hood, 10. Kainoa Ah Quin, 11. Kaelin Hirschi, 12. Rachel Strasdas, 13. Kate Gormley, 14. Rachelle Fokken, 15. Nicole Lyons Reserves: Eliza Detton, Rachel Cooper, Ashlyn Westhora, Ginger Farnsworth