Wisconsin Routs Palmer 57-0, Celebrates Alumni Weekend

Wisconsin Women's Rugbypalmer_college_dragons_3The Wisconsin Women couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off their league season than earning a 57-0 shutout against the Palmer Women for the home team’s alumni weekend.

The victory capped a great day of reconnecting with alumni and collecting an estimated 1,000 food items for the local Cottage Grove food pantry too.

Wisconsin alumni Jean O'Leary, Ruth Bernick, and Lisa Riehl with current players during the 2013 Alumni Game.
Wisconsin alums Jean O’Leary, Ruth Bernick, and Lisa Riehl with current players during the UW and WWRFC Alumni Game.

The day began with a friendly match of UW players and alumni mixing with Wisconsin developmental players and alumni. Notably, Wisconsin alums Jean O’Leary and Ruth Bernick jumped in the match with the younger players after letting everyone know they had “retired from rugby before most of you were even born.” Those two schooled the kids on the field and the sidelines were excited to see them play.

Welcoming alumni and fans from both the University of Wisconsin-Madison Women’s Rugby Club and Wisconsin Women’s Rugby Club, the women in red were ready for a nailbiter based on previous games against Palmer. Two of the last three games had ended with Wisconsin narrowly edging Palmer by just one-point victories.

Wisconsin's Inside Center Nicole Helmer breaks away from the Palmer defense to run in a try.
Wisconsin Captain and Inside Center Nicole Helmer breaks away from the Palmer defense to run in a try.

However, Wisconsin came out of the gates to dominate Palmer in all aspects of play and opened scoring within just minutes of the first whistle. Playing at the Wisconsin Rugby Sports Complex, Wisconsin ran up a 42-0 lead at the half and then maintained the shutout against Palmer despite a second half battling the high heat and some fatigue. Wisconsin’s reserves brought in fresh legs to seal the defensive wall and earn the final 57-0 mark on the scoreboard.

Wisconsin begins the season at 1-0 in league play and overall. Next up, Wisconsin will host Chicago North Shore, a D-1 women’s team, in a friendly at home on Saturday, September 7. Kickoff is at 11 a.m.

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Wisconsin Women – 57
Palmer Women – 0

Wisconsin Tries – Kelly Clerkin (2), Mary Hanks, Nicole Helmer (2), Kelly Mullen, Katie Odens (2), Kris Peterson (2).

Wisconsin Conversions – Elisa Becker (2)

Wisconsin Penalty Kick – Elisa Becker

Wisconsin Lineup:
1. Mollie Overby
2. Elisa Becker
3. Melissa Polheber
4. Sammy Clevenger
5. Jessica Burda
6. Amanda Stoltz
7. Kris Peterson
8. Kelly Clerkin (Captain)
9. Mary Hanks
10. Meaghan White
11. Emi Frerichs
12. Nicole Helmer (Captain)
13. Kelly Mullen
14. Jenny Messer
15. Lily Khadempour
Reserves: Meghan Blodgett, Emily Mastandrea, Loralee Bilke, Greta Slack, Kim Distin, Marissa Kraynak, Katie Odens, Anne-Sophie Daloz

The following awesome players also played in the first friendly alumni game and/or helped with sidelines duties: Michelle Blaser, Lisa Burley, Kestrel Felton, Dana Gordon, Maddie Hettinger, Christine Hettinger, Kristin Sargent, Mack Stout, and Sophia Weerth.

The first-ever team photo of the Wisconsin Women's Rugby Football Club at a tournament in Indiana in the spring of 1976. Thank you to alumni Nancy "Red" Thorne Cahill for sharing this with our team.
The first-ever team photo of the Wisconsin Women’s Rugby Football Club at a tournament in Indiana in the spring of 1976. Thank you to Nancy “Red” Thorne Cahill for sharing this with our team at alumni weekend.
Lock Sammy Clevenger fends off the opposition.
Lock Sammy Clevenger fends off the opposition.
Scrumhalf Mary Hanks prepares to pass the ball from the base of a ruck won by Wisconsin.
Scrumhalf Mary Hanks prepares to pass the ball from the base of a ruck won by Wisconsin.
Flanker Kris Peterson battles for the high ball in a lineout vs. Palmer.
Flanker Kris Peterson battles for the high ball in a lineout vs. Palmer.
Wing Jenny Messer is tackled by the Palmer defense with support on the way from her teammates.
Wing Jenny Messer is tackled by the Palmer defense with support on the way from her teammates.
Wisconsin captain and No. 8 Kelly Clerkin on the run after a scrum against Palmer.
Wisconsin captain and No. 8 Kelly Clerkin on the run after a scrum against Palmer.
Members of the UW Women's club at Alumni Weekend.
Members of the UW Women’s club at Alumni Weekend.
Alumni mixed in with UW and Wisconsin current players to enjoy a brief match during Alumni Weekend 2013.
Alumni mixed in with UW and Wisconsin current players to enjoy a match during Alumni Weekend 2013.
The Alumni Weekend food drive for the Cottage Grove food pantry was an overwhelming success!!
The Alumni Weekend food drive for the Cottage Grove food pantry was an overwhelming success!!
The Wisconsin Women and UW Women, along with original team alum Nancy "Red" Thorne Cahill, August 24, 2013.
The Wisconsin Women and UW Women, along with one of the original team alums Nancy “Red” Thorne Cahill celebrate together for our annual alumni weekend, August 24, 2013.