Belmont Girls’ Rugby Romps In Season Opening Matches

Photo: Belmont High Junior Callie Weissman on the run vs. Lincoln Sudbury.

The two-time consecutive state champions Belmont High Girls’ Rugby program got down to the business of defending its crown beginning the season with a pair of dominate performances.

The Marauders’ open its campaign for a third banner by defeating last year’s championship finalist Lincoln-Sudbury Regional, 57-28, at Harris Field, Friday, April 5. On Wednesday, April 10, Belmont shut out 2017 finalist Algonquin Regional, 52-0.

Asked about the outstanding performance of her team, Belmont Head Coach Kate McCabe said “we’re really lucky to have a mature squad. We have a lot of seniors and that says also a lot about the depth that they are building for the future.”

In the first game, Belmont was led by last year’s Boston Globe All-Scholastic senior Gabriella (Gabby) Viale as the Marauders took control early on both sides of the ball and never allowed Lincoln-Sudbury to establish an offensive rhythm.

It was Viale four trys – the equivalent of a touchdown – that showed . The first came when Viale made a quick start before Lincoln Sudbury was set and outran its backline to the end zone. Her second was a 60 meters solo scamper after breaking through the L/S defense, the third was the culmination of a series of grind-it-out runs. Viale’s fourth was simply sublime as she kicked the ball over the approaching defense, ran through the L/S line to scoop up the ball for her final try.

“My backline was doing such a good job of using the space, cutting and taking the angles that I was able to make those plays,” said Viale.

Replacing graduated all-scholastic Jessica Rosenstein in the critical scrum-half role, sophomore Sadie Kabhrel belied her youth by defending the ball exiting the ruck and scrum while completing nearly all her releases out to the wings.

“She would not let anyone push her around,” said Viale. “Sadie’s been fantastic with her passes as she’s getting them out really wide and we didn’t have that many drop balls.”

Belmont was up 37-7 at the halftime break and was never threatened.

“We came out with so much power it will only get better from here,” said Viale, who has established herself as one the premier players in the state. “Everyone came out so hard and really wanted it.”

In the second match against the T-Hawks, Belmont’s aggressive defense led by the likes of left wing Ana Oteri (who in the previous game took down Lincoln Sudbury’s quick wings with a series of heavy tackles), Number 8 Sam Dignan and Prop Grace Christensen, kept Algonquin on its side of the field.

The game’s offensive punch came from junior Callie Weissman who plays on the front row as the tighthead (right) prop, not normally the position that comes up with multiple trys which Weissman collected.

“I was really excited for this match because I was feeling really strong during warm up, so just being able to get the ball and to have the space to charge through the line was great, Weissman said.

Despite starting the season on a strong note, McCabe doesn’t have plans to keep the squad’s roster static for the rest of the campaign.

“I think we’re checking out a bunch of options. Just because someone has played a position doesn’t mean that’s where we’re going to play them in the future. We are not going to be complacent where we are,” said McCabe.

“These girls watch themselves play and recognize what they need to work on. They are really honest about saying things that go well and things that [the coaches] ask them to be better about,” said McCabe who took more than a dozen players on the rugby club’s spring trip abroad, this year heading to northern Spain.

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