Photos: Beantown RFC Facebook
Beantown was one of the founding members of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) in 2008 and relegated itself to Division I before rejoining in 2017, when the league expanded to 10 teams. Beantown did well to finish second in the Red Conference and then fourth overall at the national championships, a nice tone for the team’s return.
Since then, the players themselves have been instrumental in building depth and fostering a culture that supports success at the WPL for years to come, not just the near future.
“The transition from last year to this one resulted in Beantown 15s being player-led over the spring and summer,” explained Beantown co-captain Claire Stingley, who serves alongside Tatjana Toeldte. “In that time, our team stepped up tremendously to show commitment to the success of the club. We were reliant on player leadership through the spring, with our veteran players coming forward to plan and lead practices.”
The co-captains thanked Sam Luther, who returned after surgery to organize the spring, and also Matt Cameron and Amy Skenderian for their support while the team searched for a new head coach.
Co-captain Toeldte and Stanford grad Kathryn Treder were named MVPs Sunday
“Being part of the Beantown family means so much more than wearing a number and stepping on that field, and our players and support system truly showed that we bleed red and blue,” Stingley added.
During the summer, the team signed Mere Baker as new head coach. The former New Zealand international spent the summer with the American Rugby Pro Training Center (ARPTC) and traveled right from club 7s nationals to Boston. Baker brought some of that academy talent to New England, and they paired nicely with a solid core of veterans and recent college grads from around the country.
New USA 15s head coach Rob Cain with Beantown
“Our returning vets have shown tremendous grit in terms of being willing to learn new positions or adapt for the good of the team, and we will all be looking to grow together as this season progresses,” Stingley explained. “We’ve got a relatively young group this year, and several new faces joining us having just graduated from college. We’ve got players like Kathryn Treder coming in from Stanford, Claire Collins from Harvard, and Amanda Schweitzer from UCSB bringing lots of energy.”
Season-openers tend to look similar, as squads adjust at game-time speed and intensity. On Sunday, visiting Atlanta synced a little quicker, scoring two tries (Kandis Ruiz, Christina Swift) to Kimber Rozier’s penalty in the first half. Eagle flyhalf Rozier is new to Beantown this season and serves as Mel Denham’s assistant coach at Harvard. The second half saw tries from Toeldte and Tina Aprahamian, the former O.P. Lightning player who spent the summer in Little Rock, Ark., and Rozier kicked both conversions. Atlanta got one more try from Swift, but Beantown held on for the 17-15 win.
Another two-point game occurred in the Red Conference – D.C. Furies beat Twin Cities 33-31 – and the hope is for a super competitive season, which is 10 games total when including nationals. Beantown will now head to Minnesota to face the Amazons on Sunday.