Win over Stanford gives women’s rugby team new confidence (full gallery)

Carlos Islas

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  • Senior Courtney Chata passes the ball to a teammate in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • The Chico State women's rugby team fights in a scrum in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Sophomore Stefanie Bergerhouse breaks away from her opponent in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Senior Courtney Chata passes the ball in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Sophomore Darby McFall bursts away from her opponents in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Sophomore Karla Santiaguillo, senior Courtney Chata, senior Stephanie Keelmoore, and junior Rebecca Newlin lead the charge in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Sophomore Darby McFall swings the ball around her opponents in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Senior Makayla Hopkins (left) receives the pass in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Sophomores Darby McFall, Stefanie Bergerhouse, and senior McKayla Hopkins move the ball laterally in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Left to right: Sophomore Stacy Espinoza, senior Kaylee Bohn, and sophomore Karla Santiaguillo protect the ball in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Sophomore Stefanie Bergerhouse runs with teammates behind her in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Left to right: Seniors Shannon McFall, Stephanie Keel-Moore, Courtney Chata, and sophomore Karla Santiaguillo work together as they try to advance the ball in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Sophomore Darby McFall cuts around her opponents in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • The Chico State women's rugby team protects the ball in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Sophomore Morelia Ayala is takes on three attackers in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Right to left: Senior Shannon McFall, sophomore Morelia Ayala, junior Ashley Von Bargen, and senior Sierra Knebel attack the other team in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Senior Makayla Hopkins passes the ball to a teammate in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • First-year Dylan Kennedy (left) looks on as her team pushes the ball forward.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Senior Shannon McFall looks ahead on the pitch in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Sophomore Darby McFall drags down her opponent in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Sophomore Darby McFall receives the ball in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Fifth-year senior Sierra Knebel stiff arms her defender in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Fifth-year senior Sierra Knebel pushes her opponent to the ground in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Fifth-year senior Sierra Knebel steps past her opponent in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Fifth-year senior Sierra Knebel sprints away from her attacker in a game in Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • Senior Stephanie Keelmoore passes the ball as she's being tackled in a game on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

  • The Chico State women's rugby team gathers after a hard fought battle on Feb. 20.

    Lindsay Pincus

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In a game against their rival, the Chico State women’s rugby team won its biggest game of the season when they beat Stanford University 36-17 at home on Feb. 13.

The win improves the Wildcats’ record to 1-3 and moves them into third place in the Pacific Mountain West division. In previous meetings between the clubs, the Wildcats could not get the win. But this match-up was different as the ‘Cats came away with a much needed win.

The Wildcats were led by sophomore Darby McFall who scored three tries, and for her efforts earned the player of the week award. The defense also had a big hand in the win because of its success in containing Stanford’s potent offense.

“I’m honored, I think that I shouldn’t have necessarily won it, it’s a team effort,” Darby McFall said. “Rugby is one of those sports where I’m not able to do it without my teammates being there protecting and helping me out on the field. I was lucky and I ended up scoring the tries. But it was really a team effort.”

Darby was not the only one scoring as she had help from sophomore centre Stefani Bergerhouse who scored twice. Senior wing Kayla Vasquez also scored and team captain Shanan McFall had three conversions.

“It was very satisfying, after four years,” said senior Selena Miranda. “Everyone thinks we’re the underdogs and they thought they were going to run us over and they didn’t. We fought back, fought hard and we won.”

The win is a big confidence boost for the team as they had failed to win the three games leading up to the clash with Stanford.

“It was a very satisfying win,” Shanan McFall said. “Having not won any games up until this point and winning this game against Stanford was a major mood shift. The attitude of the team has changed, we’re a lot more confident, more passionate and a lot more excited for the rest of the season.”

Aside from earning their first win, Darby McFall believes the win also gives the team a new mentality and approach to the game.

“It breaks us out of our losing streak and proves to ourselves that we’re good enough to compete with the high level teams,” Darby McFall said. “We definitely have it in our brains that we can compete with the high level teams.”

Although the team has a new outlook on the season, they still have a couple games remaining and must carry the momentum to get the wins.

“We’re going to try to carry the momentum into the next couple of games we have. I think it’s nice that we have a win under our belt we have to be humble about it,” Darby McFall said. “We know that we’re going to have to work really hard to beat Cal and it’s going to be a tough game against Davis.”

Carlos Islas can be reached at [email protected] or @cIslasReports on Twitter.

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