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Women's College Player of the Week: Beth Rose

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Women's College Player of the Week: Beth Rose

The Penn State vs. Norwich women’s game last weekend was replete with highlight-reel action, so it’s no surprise that the Aircraft Charter Solutions Women’s College Player of the Week came out of that bout. Penn State prop Beth Rose stood out among the field, and for the reasons one might not expect.

Rose is built for the pack, but as a former track athlete, she’s also fast. Really fast. Late in the first half, Norwich No. 8 Vanessa Champagne took a great support line off Ilona Maher and cut right through the defense. The co-captain pushed off a defender in the backfield and looked home free for a try. But then out of nowhere, Rose came into view and the distance between the two closed incredibly quickly. She made the tackle from behind and saved the try.

“People have always recognized that I’m speedy, but I was kind of surprised myself,” Rose recollected jubilantly. “It was the first time I caught up to someone like that and succeeded in tackling them.”

Rose has had a lot of firsts recently. The 21-year-old senior from Pittsburgh has only been playing rugby for a year, but that was time enough to start her against West Chester in last season’s DI semifinal and to sub her into the title match against Stanford.

“Playing for this team, it’s really uplifting,” Rose reflected on her growth as a rugby player. “Pete [Steinberg] is big on development and players reaching their potential. The players, coaches – they really build up your confidence. I didn’t realize my own strength.”

Rose is lucky to have excellent role models as well. She credits Hope Rogers, whom Rose described as a beast with the ball, Elizabeth Cairns and Catie Benson in aiding her progress and also ensuring she’s comfortable on and off the field. Rose is also the type of crossover athlete for which rugby teams long. In addition to track, she was a dancer and played volleyball and basketball. That mixture of skill sets is seen on the field, as she’s naturally strong but also very comfortable in the open field.

“That’s the part that comes most naturally to me, running with the ball,” Rose said. “It’s everything else that I’m still learning.”

Not long after Rose’s pursuit tackle, Penn State returned to Norwich’s end with a break of its own. Rose was right on the ballcarrier’s heels and caught the offload at full pace. She made it the try zone, but knocked-on in the grounding. The half ended shortly afterward, with PSU leading 19-5. The third quarter was all about Norwich, and the Cadets eventually took a 27-24 lead near minute 65.

“I’ve only been playing for a year, remember, but that was the first time we’ve been down,” Rose said of the brief deficit. “That game was more fast-paced and more physical at the breakdowns than usual. We knew we had to come together as a team, focus on our execution, and just step it up.”

Penn State did step up in the final 10 minutes of the game, and Rose helped change momentum. She tore away for another big break into Norwich’s end, and when wrapped up, lock Taylah Pipkin was there to quickly secure the ball so Corey Meanix could get a clean outlet pass to continue the drive (Kyla Chipman scored a couple of phases later).

“Taylah’s my roommate; we have a good connection,” Rose said of the lock and flanker. “We support each other and often find ourselves at the same place, same time on the field.”

It was a fantastic outing for Rose, and when she considers her rugby future, she doesn’t look any further than continual improvement. Good enough for us, and we’re eagerly awaiting the next big chase-down!