So our rugby season here in Wisconsin is done. We finished fourth at the Midwest Tournament in Minneapolis this past weekend. Valks won it all after beating the Amazons in Sunday’s final.
But it was important to us that we even got there. And despite a complete breakdown against the Valkyries on Saturday, we rallied back and played our hearts out on Sunday’s game against North Shore. The scores don’t reflect it.
Every single player made strides forward on Sunday, played physically and despite the fact that we have a lot of things to work on for next season, we had some positives.
I’m very much looking forward to the break from rugby now though. I’ll admit it. My whole team, especially our team leaders needed a break, physically, mentally, emotionally.
Good luck to all of the teams advancing to the Sweet 16s. And thank you to all of my Wisconsin teammates.
ADDED: I realized that my exhaustion from the weekend didn’t leave me very objective regarding my team and the weekend’s results. And people would still want to know the results … even if it’s tad painful, my team is not ashamed that we lost.
So the Valkyries beat Wisconsin 116-0 (according to Goff’s report) on Saturday. Our team just came ready to lose I guess … I don’t really know what else to say. We failed early on to ruck and tackle, and then later when we finally started rucking and tackling, we were just worn down. We traveled with 16 players all weekend. Awesome. I played wing all weekend (I know, weird, huh?) and I faced a lot … and by that I mean A LOT … of 3 on 1s, 2 on 1s and even a particularly fun 5 on 2 situation that I shared with Tonya. I think a lot of our younger/inexperienced players were just in shell shock. I don’t know what else to say. It was a growing game for us Wisconsin girls. To the Valkyries credit, they are well-coached, very fit and play the game beautifully and cleanly.
The Amazons beat Chicago North Shore 20-17 after a late rally by North Shore on Saturday. These two teams just beat the everliving shit out of each other. For the second week in a row (they finished league play last weekend against each other too). It was a good game to watch, although I thought that the Zons better dominated the pack play and pretty much shut down North Shore’s ability to get the ball out to their back line, which is what North Shore depends on. To North Shore’s credit, their pack has improved this year to better balance their backline and that made the difference in their late rally. The Zons missed every one of their conversions as well. There was also a heat of the moment fistfight between Pam Kosanke at flyhalf and a Zon prop or lock that drew cheers from the sidelines. Kosanke had fists of fury going on for a few seconds and both players were sinbinned for it with yellow cards.
A few of the Zons players were throwing a lot of dirty unnecessary crap into the games this weekend … from our view on the sidelines, we saw some blatant stomping, punching and pushing that the sir seemed blind to. Ham received a uncalled for punch to the face in the championship match and in a moment of later-labeled “zen”, didn’t punch the Zon back like she deserved so as not to risk a possible red card.
Interesting note on the two referees … we had a female referee each game who was pretty whistle happy with offsides calls, etc. The second match of each day had a male referee who dished out 2 or more yellow cards per match but wasn’t as whistle happy …
Sunday’s games saw our team playing North Shore for third place and the Zons and Valkyries playing for first place. North Shore scored first on us early and kept us pinned down a bit in our try zone, but we held them at the line. Right from the whistle, our entire team was playing much more physically and together. We came back hard and took advantage of some dumb mistakes by North Shore to pin them in their zone and kept pounding until we got the ball in to tie the game up 5-5. We would later get close again and score 3 points on a penalty kick. Our pack did much better against North Shore this game, we won a fair amount of scrums, got clean ball from the rucks and overall, we’re holding our own. What killed us was a combo of our third-phase play (as in we were stopping North Shore in first play, and then second, but not third breakdowns) or one of our players would miss a key tackle and the NS backline player was off through a hole. These situations gave North Shore a lot of tries on us … final was 76-8, but not confirmed. And not including the try where the North Shore winger touched it down three meters out from the try zone either. Oops. It’s the big white line …
I think our less experienced players learned a lot about tackling yesterday and remembering to trust their teammates and that your shoulders, not your hands, are what you use to tackle. And Scottie entertained Nicole and I with Eminem’s “Shake that Ass for Me”.
The Zons and Valks final was very physical, but the Zons were clearly worn out from Saturday after a while and the Valks dominated offensively, except for a late try by the Zons after the Valks lost scrumhalf Katy Hertel to the sinbin (for a questionable card). Final score 34-5. Final’s game photos available here at Dropkick. I’ll post more links when Dropkick includes the rest of the weekend.
Both the Valks and Zons go to Kansas City and North Shore travels to South Carolina.