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.