Monthly Archives: November 2005

Place Your Bets …

So Firecracker just asked for my thoughts on how the NASC women’s tournament would finish … here’s what I replied:

Firecracker: So based on what you have read on the territories and the u-23’s how do you see it playing out?

Blondie: I’m going to say that in Tier 1, Northeast will beat U-23s for the title and in Tier 2, Midwest will beat South, b/c they need to climb back up in to Tier I.

Overall … here is my bet …

1. Northeast
2. U-23s
3. West
4. Pacific
5. Midwest
6. South
7. Mid-Atlantic
8. Southern California

Based on my very limited knowledge of the teams, talent and depth … I don’t foresee any blowouts, except possibly a bigger win for Midwest over SoCal (just not a ton of depth) in the first game … The Tier I teams are pretty loaded all around I think.

Some really good rugby down there. Wish we could watch it on TV.

And I’m throwing in this fun picture I borrowed from my brother’s blog just because it reminded me of Midwest LAUs in August … the blonde cartoon girl reminds me of myself and my teammates & I (including Firecracker) started calling Elkhart, Indiana “Funkytown” during our roadtrip down to the Moose Rugby Grounds. I’ll save the flat tire and the “oh shit” light adventures for another time.


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You Have Proven Your Quality … According to a Cake

Currently, sitting not more than 150 feet from me, are two large and delicious looking cakes. Cakes that could be straight out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory or Alice in Wonderland.

Covered in tantalizing frosting flowers in a bevy of colors and hues, the cakes are just sitting there daring me to walk up and swipe my finger through one of the large orangey-red frosting mums …

Oh the humanity … And don’t you love the saying “You have Proven Your Quality!” Excellent, do I also get a trophy?

The cakes are really to celebrate a quality assurance inspection for my place of employment. But it still cracked me up … that and my years of education and experience adding a new career update for my resume … cake photographer. Hold still and smile! Mmmmmmm … cake.

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They Were the Best and Knew the Game Well

I was surfin’ and wandered on to, which searches “22 million blogs” to bring me “what’s on the web right now” and found this article from The Herald about two female rugby touch judges in South Africa. The first women to ever participate as touch judges.

TWO women from Cape Town and Mpumalanga will make history in the country’s most male-dominated sport when they are the first women to participate as touch judges for the SA Sevens Rugby Tournament in George next week.

Jenny Bentel, of Cape Town, and Kim Smith, of Secunda, have both been referees for various women’s rugby games for several years. Earlier this year they started managing men’s rugby games at provincial level.

SA Rugby Referees manager Neville Heilbron said the women were chosen to be the tournament’s touch judges because they were the best and they knew the game well.

Smith said: “I am very excited and I am looking forward to managing a men’s game at that level because I think that will develop my skill not just at provincial level, but abroad.”

Officials in South Africa seem to face the same issues of unruly and (yes, I’ll say it) asinine fans who believe they know more than the players, coaches and referees.

She said that one needed a “thick skin” to be able to manage a rugby game.

“You get much difficulty – not from the players really, more from spectators who think they know the game and how it should be running.”

Smith said she had experienced difficulties initially from managing a male-dominated game, “but when you know what you are doing, everyone will start to respect you”.

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Still missing two unions …

Just did some quick math and I realize that I am still missing two union women’s team previews from the NASC this weekend – MARFU and the West. Will look for them and post if they are available …

No worries!

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Saving the Best for Last: Midwest Women’s All-Star Preview

I admit to be fully biased as a Midwest girl. Here’s the final GoffOnRugby preview of the Midwest Women’s Team. Subscription again required for this Goff article, so full article reprinted below.

Also a great shoutout is included for one of my team captains, Kelly Clerkin, for her first year on the Midwest senior team. Too bad he missed out on our other team captain Nicole Helmer, who likely be ripping up the backline.

NASC: Midwest Women Look to Move Up
By Alex Goff
November 29, 2005 – The Midwest women’s all star team has a strict policy of only selecting players who turn up for the summer’s LAU tournament.

Played for the USA? Doesn’t matter, you have to be at the LAUs.

This year some well-known names in Midwest rugby gave the LAUs a miss, and head coach Roger Bruggemeyer happily took the opportunity to usher in something of a youth movement, something he has started a year before.

Oh, and speaking of a year ago, two losses sent the Midwest down to Tier II for this year and the side is itching to move back up. Bruggemeyer took some of the responsibility on his own shoulders, saying his hands-off approach worked with a largely veteran team, but younger players needed a different coaching strategy.

In addition, the Midwest team appeared to have taken the USA U23s lightly to their peril, and then imploded against the West in the face of some refereeing that went against them.

“We spent a lot of time on mental preparation,” said Bruggemeyer.

The team itself will need certain players to keep things together, and some of them are youngsters. Chicago North Shore captain Farrah Douglas is always a steadying head up front, and Garnet Towne is experienced in the second row, but look also for former USA U23 loose forwards Kelly Evanovich and Kristen Zdanczewicz, who are go-forward, never-quit types who will ramp up the aggressiveness of the Thunderbird defense.

Bruggemeyer has a very young backline and will rely on the Kate (Minnesota Valkyries) and Sara (Twin Cities Amazons) Turpin to keep it all glued together. The greatly improved Chicago North Shore side contributes several of their vaunted backline, Sarah Corcoran, Sue Hanson, and Jackie Limberg. North Shore’s ability to score with 35 percent of posession was one of their great attributes this fall. But the Midwest will be without USA center Pam Kosanke, who opted out this year. Also absent, Jen Sinkler, nursing various knee injuries, and lock Chris Trucano.

Clearly the class of the Midwest are the teams from Minnesota and Chicago, but the LAU tournament format has brought out some diamonds in the rough. Kristen Johnson (Cincy-Dayton) was part of a successful Ohio campaign while Wisconsin captain Kelly Clerkin is an excellent addition to the pack.

Desiree Markovich is, like Evanovich, a hard-driving member of the Pittsburgh Angels, while Christine Barber is emerging as one of the best players in Western New York.

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Northeast Women’s All-Star Preview

This team is just loaded with big talent. Damn. Previews of the NASC women’s rugby teams from GoffOnRugby. Subscription required, so I’ll give you the full article below on the Northeast Women’s Team

NASC: Close Not Enough for Northeast Women
By Alex Goff
November 29, 2005 – Since winning the women’s NASC in 2001 the Northeast has made the final three years in a row. They’ve lost all three, but a grand total of five points.

At some point, that’s got to be hard to live with.

Head coach Craig Levine continues to be active in finding his charges games, and they played tough against the USA this September. Levine’s enthusiasm ensures the players work hard and keep coming back, and this year he has a team that has internationals are just about every position.

Prop Anne Collier captains the squad and she pairs with Liz Lake. Katie MacCallum and Becky Geiss are the hookers while perhaps the position with the least exposure to international is lock, with Laura Vivolo, Jessica Houser and Carrie DuBray.

Still, they are a tough bunch, and are augmented well by an excellent and tough back row that includes the New York trio of Kelly McMahon, Phaidra Knight, and Heidi Rubenstein.

The Northeast backs have few equals. Eagle flyhalves Kristin Baja and Hedwig Aerts partner with Lee Knight and new USA squadmember Claudia Braymer.

Keenya Warner and Amy Daniels revisit the center pairing of a year ago, while Eagles Ellie Karvoski and Tyshawn Henry patrol the wings, along with USA U23 standout Jenna Flateman.

New York and former SUNY Binghamton fullback Maura Weikman and Daniels are the only non internationals in a backline that should have little trouble scoring tries.

“There were some very tough choices as the NRU is very fortunate to have many talented players,” said Levine, who partners with assistants Greg Parsons and John McGeachy. We feel we have as good a shot as anyone to go for the title.”

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Southern California Women’s All-Star Preview

Finishing the round-up of previews of the NASC women’s rugby teams from GoffOnRugby. Subscription required, so naturally, here’s the full article below on the SoCal Women’s Team

NASC: SoCal Women Want Respect, Wins
By Alex Goff
November 29, 2005 – Looking for respect is Southern California, and the message in local circles seems to be if they want respect at the NASC, they’ve got to respect it themselves.

So it is that the Griffins this year have excellent participation from area clubs, something coaches couldn’t always count on, and under new head coach Herb Riech, they have prepared well.

“We are feeling ready,” said Reich, who oversaw camps in Long Beach and Phoenix and who benefited in part from a good fall season among the clubs in the area to see all the players.

Scottsdale loose forward Sarah Hulsey captains a side that includes USA U23 scrumhalf Kate Henneberger.

Belmont Shore, Scottsdale and San Diego dominate the selections (although UC Santa Barbara center Rosie Krauter gets in there) and this lineup will do well to expose the skills of the likes of No. 8 Brie McNally or Scottsdale’s big-scoring wing Erin Kearney.

Recent All Americans Sarah Davis (fullback) and Jess Venturi (center) are examples of how the development of younger players in the region is producing dividends.

They will still have their work cut out for them against the Midwest in their opening match and the Griffins still haven’t won an All-Star match since 2000, but the players have fronted up. Let’s see what they can do.

Southern California women’s squad
Name Position(s) Team
Brooke Basinger Prop Belmont
Angel Bishop Flyhalf/Scrumhalf Scottsdale
Sarah Davis Fullback/Center San Diego
Nikki Flagg Wing Santa Monica
Selena Gell Prop Scottsdale
Jamie Hampton Lock/Flanker San Diego
Heather Haney Flanker San Diego
Kate Henneberger Scrumhalf Belmont
Sarah Hulsey 8-man/Flanker Scottsdale
Erin Kearney Wing Scottsdale
Rosie Krauter Center UC-Santa Barbara
Amy Manidis Hooker/Flanker Belmont
Christine Marlo Lock Coast
Brie McNally 8-man Belmont
Kate Morris Hooker/Flanker Belmont
Kasey Richer Flanker Belmont
Hannah Rufener Wing Scottsdale
Leila Ryan Wing Belmont
Kanisha Saunders Lock Scottsdale
Jamie Schukle Fullback/Flyhalf Scottsdale
Jenny Triplett Hooker/Prop San Diego
Amber Tucker Prop Belmont
Jess Venturi Center/Wing San Diego
Kelly White Center Belmont
Terri Wilson Center/Fullback Scottsdale

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