For Immediate Release
August 23, 2010
U20 WNT Drop NACRA Final
USA U20s finish the NACRA tournament with a 2-1 record, narrowly losing to Canada in the final. Flanker Jozy Gessner was the tournament’s MVP.
NASSAU, Bahamas – The USA Women’s U20s lost a fiercely contested North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) final on Saturday to the Canada U20s. With a score of 3-6, it was a tightly-contested game defined by aggressive defense from both sides.
The first half saw play go back and forth with both teams having opportunities to take the lead. Both defenses came out aggressively and it was clear early on that Canada’s centers were going to have to move the ball quickly to avoid getting smashed by the big-hitting Bui Baravilala. Canada had a chance to open the scoring in the 9th minute when they were awarded a penalty on the USA 22, but the kick sailed wide and the scores were still even. The U20s had two shots at the post in the first half, but the first of Bui Baravilala’s kicks went slightly wide and the second came off the post and back into play. The USA also had the best try-scoring opportunities. The explosive speed of Bex Seibach caused problems for the Canada backs and only a last ditch Canadian tackle saved a certain try.
The second half looked the same as the first, with both teams defending aggressively and making the most of the offensive opportunities. The USA took a 3-0 lead on a penalty by Chelsea Garber after a long passage of possession.
Canada countered with an attack that appeared to have finally broken the USA defense as they created the only overload of the afternoon. Faced with a two-on-one situation, winger Holly Zoeller put in a try-saving tackle that forced the final pass to go forward and the USA escaped with a scrum at the 22.
Canada tied the game with a penalty, but the momentum seemed to be with the USA. However, sloppy play by the Americans resulted in a turnover in the Canada half and a series of penalties pushed the USA back towards their own 22. Another misdemeanor gave the Canadians a shot at the posts. The kick was good and the score stood at 3-6 with nine minutes to play.
The USA finished the stronger and in the dying minutes and drove into the Canadian 22, forcing Canada into giving up a penalty. Unfortunately, Chelsea Garber’s kick slid wide of the far post and the ref blew the whistle for the end of the game.
Head Coach Bryn Chivers was disappointed with the result “We lost another close one that we deserved to win and it seems we have a problem closing these games out. We’ve played Canada twice this year and lost by a total of four points.”
Chivers, while frustrated by the loss, knows that the U20s are headed in the right direction. “The upside is that gone are the days when we would enter these games as the clear underdog.”
The coach credits the recent progress to State Based Rugby Organizations (SBROs) for developing excellent rugby athletes. “The development of the SBROs is producing players with the same amount of experience as their Canadian counterparts. And, if you look at the players that stood out at this event, several of them came through the youth rugby programs.”
Individual players that stood out to Chivers were Hawaii’s Bui Baravilala, Summit’s Haley Anderson, BYU’s Bex Siebach, and the experienced starting back row of Jozy Gessner, Katie Johnson and Candace Barley.
Jozy Gessner was awarded the USA MVP trophy for her performance throughout the tournament.
USA U20 WNT 3, Canada U20’s 6
U20 WNT v Caribbean Select Side
1 Wendy Sherman Colorado State
2 Rachel Ryan U of Wyoming
3 Brittany Rose Unattached (Replaced by Hathaway)
4 Katie Humphreys Kent, WA
5 Alycia Washington U Conn
6 Katie Johnson Hopkins, MN
7 Jozy Gessner Colorado State
8 Candace Barley Lee University (Replaced by Lewis)
9 Hailey Anderson Summit, CO
10 Hannah Lockwood Oregon State
11 Rebecca Siebach Women’s Cougar Rugby
12 Bui Baravilala Aliamanu Blues
13 Star Bollinger Women’s Cougar Rugby
14 Holly Zoeller U of North Carolina (Replaced by McKnight)
15 Chelsea Garber Brown
16 Mileka Grager Western Washington
17 Andee Samborski Livingstone, MI
18 Katie Hathaway Norwich
19 Kiki McKnight U of Centaral Florida
20 McKenzie Lewis Mesa State
21 Amee Svatos Canby, OR
22 Kelly Sager Penn State
23 Anne Marie Bowlus U of California – Santa Cruz
24 Brittany O’Brien U of Rhode Island