Recapping Friday’s D-I Action in Florida

USA Rugby’s brief, but official, recap of the semifinals of the Division I Women’s Rugby National Championships …

BOULDER, Colo. – The first day of play wrapped up at the USA Rugby Division I Women’s Club Championships today in Orlando, Fla., with the tournaments first major upset as No. 3 New York beat the second-seeded Minnesota Valkyries, 32-15. Led by its tough backline, New York moves on to meet the No. 1 seed Berkeley All-Blues in the final on Sunday.

Berkeley, which is going for their 10th-straight National Championship title, pulled past the Atlanta Harlequins 22-6, in a match that was much closer than the linescore reflects, to continue their quest for the cup. The Valkyries will be pitted against Atlanta on Sunday to determine who walks away with third-place.

In the consolation brackets, Beantown squashed the Washington Furies 41-3, while the Twin City Amazons fought through a defensive battle with Keystone to move on to the next round.

While the DI Women’s Teams get a day of rest before the final rounds start on Sunday, there will be plenty of action at the 2006 DII Club National Championships, which start tomorrow in Raleigh, N.C.

For more information about the DI Women’s Club Championships, please visit For media interested in attending the final day of the championships, please contact Jessa Giordano at (917) 626-2805.

Good on USA Rugby for shouting out to the D-II Championships, but no link. Oh well …

Via Goff (subscription required), All-Blues Survive Sub-Par Day, Berkeley All-Blues (and National Women’s Team) Head Coach Kathy Flores was disappointed in the All-Blues play against the Atlanta Harlequins in the 26-6 victory. All reports state the score does not reflect how close this game was at times.

“I am not happy at all,” said Flores. “We gave Atlanta a lot of opportunities and I think they are probably unhappy that they didn’t score more. Not to take anything away from Atlanta, but we gave up a lot of penalties and just weren’t really in the game.”

Flores said the trip east wasn’t easy for her team but that was no excuse, as she expects more discipline and more clinical play from a club that has won nine straight national titles.

“We held tough with our back defense and that was important,” she said. “We knew we had to because of the speed that Atlanta has.”

Berkeley’s flyhalf Stephanie Bruce and centers Courtney Warner and Meagan Verdeyenare credited for stellar defensive play against Atlanta’s often fatal backline speed.

It was also a battle of the backs between the New York Women and the Minnesota Valkyries, with NYRC finally taking a 32-15 victory after three years of losing to the Valks in the national semifinals.

According to Goff (sub. req.) – New York Backs Crash Through Valkyries – the NYRC Women lost flyhalf Kristin Baja early on to injury, but center Hedwig Aerts moved up in the line and their backline came back together to pick apart the Valks. The Valkyries looked to make a late charge after drawing close with a 20-15 score, but New York ran in two more tries to seal the win.

Aert says “This wasn’t just a monkey off our backs, it was a silverback gorilla.”

Sunday’s games will see Berkeley and New York battle for the 2006 National Championship. Berkeley’s looking for its 10th straight title, while New York’s hunger and talent could just end that streak.

Worth noting, it’s no surprise that these two teams also count the most USA Eagles within their rosters (something we’ll discuss further next week). Truly a battle of the America’s rugby all-stars tomorrow down in Disney World.

So, the Valkyries and the Harlequins will scrum for third-place, while Beantown plays the Twin Cities Amazons for the Plate title and the DC Furies meet the Keystone Women for 7th place honors.

Send in your own thoughts, early scores, etc. in the comments to share. Especially since the only report’s I’m digging up unfortunately are from USA Rugby and Goff which always feel more of a game of telephone, than reports from the field.

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