The MIT women’s rugby club overpowered East Stroudsburg University, 41-5, to win the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) Division III National Championship held in Cherry Hill, N.J, from Nov. 21-22. Scrumhalf Alyssa Baccarella earned tournament MVP honors and Ade Ogunniyi powered MIT with 12 trys.
In its semifinal pairing with Metro New York Rugby Football Union champion Hofstra University, MIT amassed 11 trys en route to a 63-5 victory. MIT was led by the power running of inside center Caroline Hunting along with the blistering speed of wing Ogunniyi.
In the championship tilt against East Stroudsburg, MIT's forwards exerted pressure on its foes with controlled rucking. Center Rachel Forman notched MIT's first score to even the match at five with 20 minutes left in the first half. About four minutes later, flyhalf Liz Umhoefer made a great run to set up Ogunniyi for an easy run-in that put MIT ahead, 12-5. With less than five minutes remaining in the frame, MIT won an ESU put-in at a five-meter scrum which resulted in a score by Carly Narlesky. During the waning seconds of the period, MIT won a ruck at half way and the ball was fed out to Ogunniyi who outran two defenders to give MIT a 24- 5 advantage at the break.
MIT's pressure at an ESU scrum only two minutes into the second stanza caused a turnover and led to a score by flanker Sam Cohen. Just five minutes later MIT's forwards won another ESU five-meter scrum feed and Ogunniyi extended the margin to 36- 5. Right before the final whistle, Ogunniyi took off on a 25-meter run, beating four defenders, to cap the scoring.