ACTON, Mass. – Despite soggy conditions, the crowd at NARA Park witnessed its share of exciting matches day one of the USA Rugby Women’s College Playoffs on Saturday.
Following some highly contested matches, Boston, Philadelphia, Glendale and the Austin Valkyries remain in the hunt for the Championships and advance to the round of eight on Sunday. Local favorites the Boston Women kicked the day off on a high note with a three try victory over Chicago North Shore when competition got underway on Saturday morning. Propelled by lock Erin Broderick, who converted her own try and booted a penalty kick, Boston shot ahead to a 10-0 lead before halftime and continued to hold its ground in the second half. Chicago got on the board inside minute 66 with a penalty kick from Emily Riehl, but was unable to gain momentum from there, as Boston maintained strong field position and dominated possession for the remainder of the half. In the 69th minute, Boston’s Xaymara Saez dotted down the final try of the match to put the score at 15-3. Boston advances to face top-seeded NOVA on Sunday (11 am), while North Shore meets Detroit in a consolation match when play resumes (9 am).
Following a nail-biting match versus Detroit, Philadelphia launched a late comeback for a 10-5 victory to keeps its championship hopes alive. Detroit drew first blood and got on the board within the first 10 minutes of the match with a try from outside center Kylie Newman. The Michigan side defended well and held Philly from the try zone for the remainder of the half to go to the benches at 5-0. Slick field conditions tested handling skills in the second half, but both teams remained steadfast toward the tryzone. Philly was the first to strike, as Meredith Hegg crossed over to even the score. Following an aggressive back and forth battle, Philadelphia again pushed over the line to go ahead 10-5, with less than 15 minutes left to play. Fighting with all they had, Detroit surged toward the goal to tie the game as the clock wound down, but could not get the ball to drop before the whistle. Philadelphia moves on to face the tournament’s No. 3 seed, Atlanta, on Sunday at 1p.m., while Detroit sees a consolation match versus Chicago North Shore.
Glendale took control early in its match versus NorCal Triple Threat. The Lady Raptors got on the board inside the 19th minute with a penalty kick from Karla Leopold and less than three minutes later, fullback Bethany Zick broke into the tryzone to go up 8-0. Battling through the pouring rain, the Raptors dominated possession in the first half and once again, off a true team effort, Glendale lock Jaime Lang found an opening to dot down the team’s third try. Just before the close of the first half, flyhalf Katie Thoreson snuck in for another to go up 20-0, where the score held until the end. Glendale will play No. 2 seeded Seattle Breakers to round out the day of competition on Sunday (2 pm) and NorCal will see Belmont Shore in a consolation match at 9 a.m.
In a highly physical match, Belmont Shore was narrowly edged out by the Austin Valkyries, 7-5, when play concluded at NARA Park on Saturday. The Valkyries’ Kandis Ruiz scored the only try of the first half, inside minute 12 and Rachel Kraft converted to put Austin ahead 7-0 at the break. Belmont Shore stuck close in the game and played excellent defense to keep Austin at bay and kept on the attack until the ball finally dropped in their favor in the 64th minute. Replacement Chloe Williams was able to push through to put her team within striking distance, but with the missed conversion the tally held at 7-5 until the end. Austin will meet the San Diego Surfers at noon on Sunday, while Belmont Shore faces NorCal at 9 a.m.
Weather permitting, USA Rugby will show Sunday’s Field 1 matches LIVE via webcast on USTREAM.
DAY 1 RESULTS – Saturday, Oct. 24
1. Boston 15, Chicago North Shore 3
2. Philadelphia 10, Detroit 5
3. Glendale 20, NorCal Triple Threat 0
4. Austin Valkyries 7, Belmont Shore 5
DAY 2 SCHEDULE – Sunday, Oct 25
5. Chicago North Shore vs. Detroit – Field 1, 9 a.m. (Consolation)
6. NorCal Triple Threat vs. Belmont Shore – Field 2, 9 a.m. (Consolation)
7. NOVA vs. Boston – Field 1, 11 a.m.
8. San Diego Surfers vs. Austin Valkyries – Field 2, 12 p.m.
9. Atlanta vs. Philadelphia – Field 1, 1 p.m.
10. Seattle Breakers vs. Glendale – Field 2, 2 p.m.
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