CCU hooker Taylor Gibbore / All photos: Dennis Woxland
In reviewing the College of Charleston’s success this DII Carolinas conference season, TRB noted that its game against Coastal Carolina (S.C.) would be a big threat. The teams turned that prediction into reality, and Coastal Carolina banked a 27-26 win to improve to 3-0 (and join the rankings).
Flyhalf LeAnne Hudson captains the Coastal Carolina from flyhalf, while co-captain Abbey Rembe exerts her influence from lock. They’re charged with guiding a squad where the rookies outnumber the veterans 2:1.
“Sophomore back Kylee Hill and freshman back Greer Rickett both are amazing players,” Coastal Carolina head coach Chelsea Renoe enthused. “They are both aggressive tacklers, agile runners with great hands. There are quite a few others that are learning the game so quickly, becoming stellar ruggers. I have several forwards that have yet to play a full game but show a lot of potential. To be honest I am blessed with amazing athletes. They impress me every week.”
Autumn Roach / Photo: Dennis Woxland
It took some time for it to come together against College of Charleston, which took a two-try lead to kick off the game. Coastal then responded with scores from Hudson, who moved to fullback for the day, and then outside center Autumn Roach. Charleston had the final say for a 19-10 lead into the break.
“We definitely play a similar game with strong forward pods and quick backs,” Renoe compared the two teams. “I believe our fitness was better. Second half showed that, as we dominated on their side of the field.”
Back-to-back tries from Fionnagh Krenzer and Hudson, along with a Roach conversion, put Coastal ahead 22-19. Charleston regained the lead with a converted try, 26-22, as the clock wound down.
Rachel Minnick / Photo: Dennis Woxland
“Usually Hudson rallies everyone when we are down, but in this game, it was a run from forward Sara Benzer through [Charleston’s] defense inside the 22 that ignited the team to fight harder,” Renoe recalled the pivotal play. “Then it was the forwards crashing into the defensive line that kept the pressure on, which allowed for [scrumhalf] Tori Schuyler to quick-pass to Kylee Hill and score that final try.”
The try from flyhalf Hill marked the winning points and closed out the game, 27-26 to Coastal Carolina.
“No one in particular [stood out]. Saturday’s win was definitely a solid team effort,” Renoe reflected. “They came together defensively, supported very well at the breakdown and breakaways.”
Coastal Carolina now tops the division with a 3-0 record, having defeated UNC Charlotte in the fall and taking the forfeit win against UNC Greensboro. The team will continue matrix play against Appalachian State on Feb. 23 and needs to reschedule Western Carolina. The game was originally booked for the same weekend as USA 7s, but Coastal Carolina is sending five of its players – Hudson, Rembe, Hill, Rickett and Sarah Bryson – to Las Vegas with the Carolinas GU Select 7s team.
“This coming post-season I anticipate playing [College of Charleston] in the playoffs, the main advantage will go to home field,” Renoe looked ahead. “If we get through the first round, I can see us going on to [the spring championship].”