Four teams picked up bonus points and three victors won on the road
Women’s Premier League West Conference standings leader, Life West (4-0) is the first team to four wins, having traveled to San Diego (1-2) for a 40-16 victory.
“We are very pleased with the result against San Diego in what was a physical and combative game,” Life West Director of Rugby Adriaan Ferris enthused. “The defensive effort in particular was a highlight, especially after giving up four tries in the game last week. Our connection on defense and physicality in contact set the tone for a strong performance.”
Leti Hingano led all point-scorers with a try and five conversions, while Amy Naber Bonte (2), Elizabeth Cairns, Nicole Strasko and Neariah Persinger also scored. Megan Foster took advantage of three penalty opportunities and also converted Ashlee Byrge’s try to end the day 11 points.
“We are able to head into the bye round in good shape and reflect on a some key learnings we have taken away from each game so far,” Ferris looked at the previous month. “We know it is only going to get tougher in the back half of the season.”
Twin Cities head coach Rebecca Radtke mentioned of whether the team is where it should be midway through the season. “I’m new to them as much as they’re new to me. It’s as much of them learning about me and Lynelle as us learning about them. I’ve learned that they can be more physical than they think they can be,” the coach said of lessons along the way. “Against Beantown [in week two], they initiated contact at all levels, on offense and defense. Today, when they found themselves as initiators of contact that led to positive outcomes.”
Good communication wove a more cohesive performance, and the team got an early lift as fullback Kaelene Lundstrum scored in the third minute. New York’s Chloe Jex answered 20 minutes later following a yellow card advantage, 5-5. Twin Cities sent Brittany O’Dell and Katana Howard into the try zone, and the first of Danica Mooney-Jones’ conversions put the home side up 17-5. By game’s end, Sarah Roche, Kelsey Coley, Shaena Sparrow and Rachel Lentsch added tries for Twin Cities, while New York added 15 second-half points through Misha Green’s try, Gianna Solomon’s conversion and Tess Feury’s penalty. The Amazons sit in second place in the WPL East, and New York will travel to Beantown Saturday to close out the first half of the season. Chicago North Shore (1-2) experienced similarly wet conditions in the Windy City. Beantown head coach Tadhg Leader asked for three things: 1) A fast-up defense that cut off passing lanes and pressured North Shore’s wide-open attack; 2) an uptick in physicality in contact; and 3) a tactical kicking game. The first half went according to plan, and the visitors used its possession to put hooker Kathryn Treder and wing Kat Phelan away for tries, 10-0 at the half.
“Tats [Tatjana Toeldte], our flyhalf, again did a great job in the conditions, constantly putting them under pressure and turning them around through her kicking game,” Leader said of standouts. “The kick is only as good as the chase, and I told our wing, Brittany [Dykes], that her job was to chase down everything that was kicked. Put pressure on them and make them feel uncomfortable.”
Leader also called out lock Claire Collins and flanker Claire Stingley for setting the tone in the forwards, and was pleased with the oppressive defense. There was more parity in the second half and North Shore did well to take advantage with a penalty while holding Beantown scoreless: 10-3 the final. “We used the bench with confidence and now know that we can bring fresh blood on the field and they’ll do a good job,” Leader highlighted WPL first-timer T Fletcher as one such impact player. “Three weeks ago in my first game, I might not have made those subs as quickly, because I wasn’t aware of who they are and what they can do.” Glendale (2-1) and Berkeley (1-2) scored three tries apiece. An extra conversion, however, afforded the Merlins the 19-17 win, while the All Blues settled for the bonus point in the loss. Glendale No. 8 Carmen Farmer and scrumhalf Carly Waters worked well together off the back of the scrum and making consistent meters on the short side. Farmer scored the team’s two first-half tries, which built on penalty opportunities. A scrum penalty saw the No. 8 tap quickly through Berkeley’s five meter, and the second occurred after three penalties allowed the first half to extend well beyond 40 minutes. Again from short range, Farmer drove across the line and Gabby Cantorna’s earlier conversion afforded 12 first-half points.
Following a yellow card near the 20-minute mark, a solid lineout moved wide to fullback Serena Liu, who worked the defense with Laura Thacker as the outside option and scored. Ten minutes later, Katy Augustyn finished off a controlled forward campaign to the line. The ball then moved one pass away from the breakdown and the Eagle hooker used that room to dive across. Sam Miller converted for the 12 first-half points. The home side quickly extended its lead to 17-12 three minutes into the second half.
“They definitely had some speed, and a couple players who are new that we haven’t seen before,” Glendale vice captain and Player of the Match Joanna Kitlinski said of Berkeley’s assets. “So I definitely think they have some good players, but overall we made mistakes and we let them capitalize on a couple of those knock-ons and offloads that we had. It was definitely our ball that we gave to them.”
With fewer than 10 minutes remaining in the match, flanker Rachel Ehrecke took a quick tap from inside Berkeley’s 10 meter for the try and tying points. WPL debutant McKenzie Hawkins kicked the centered conversion for the 19-17 lead that held through regulation. “We were tied pretty much the entire game. And then in the second half we decided that we had to pick it up and kind of finish it out,” Kitlinski said. “But Berkeley, it’s definitely always a battle when we play them, so we knew it was going to be a close game.”
WEEK 4 RESULTS
Beantown 10 – 3 Chicago
Twin Cities 39 – 20 New York
Life West 40 – 16 San Diego
Glendale 19 – 17 Berkeley
WEEK 5 MATCHES
Saturday, September 14th
ORSU (0-3) @ Glendale (2-1) – 1:00 PM MDT
San Diego (1-2) @ Berkeley (1-2) – 1:00PM PDT
New York (1-2) @ Beantown (2-1) – 6:00PM EDT
Sunday, September 15th
Atlanta (2-1) @ Chicago North Shore (1-2) – 12:00PM CDT
Life West (4-0) & Twin Cities (2-1)