U-23 Eagles Notch First NZ Tour Win

Via USA Rugby …

U.S. Women’s U-23 Team Wins First Match of New Zealand Tour
For Immediate Release
July 25, 2007

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — The USA Under 23 Women’s National Team was victorious in the first match of the team’s New Zealand tour. The U-23s defeated opponent Burnside WRFC 27-10 under the lights at the West Melton Rugby Club in Christchurch. After arriving from the United States and training for two intense days, the team was excited and ready to compete.

In the first five minutes of the match, the U-23s put two tries and one conversion on the board, with scoring by outside center Kristy Lear (U of MN) and wing Elaine Schlarb (Oregon State Univ.), respectively. Kirsten Ahrendt (Dartmouth) successfully converted Schlarb’s try and Lear followed with another try ten minutes later. Burnside opted to kick for points on a penalty about 30 minutes into the match. The U-23s quickly followed with a try on the outside by Schlarb. At the half, the U-23s were ahead 22-3.

Burnside brought a high level of intensity to the second half, and scored within the first ten minutes. Their conversion was successful, bringing the score to 22-10. Neither side added any points until the final five minutes of the match when U-23 replacement right wing Schmarrah McCarthy (Purdue) scored wide.

“The fact that all five tries were finished by outside backs is a good indication that a lot of players did the right things well: high quality possession, good recognition of the space available, creative angle running off the ball and well-timed transfers,” said USA U-23 Women’s Head Coach Barb Fugate.

Looking ahead to the team’s next match against Manawatu RFC, Fugate said the team needs to work on the set pieces and defensive organization needs marginal improvement. The commitment to defense throughout the Burnside WRFC match was excellent; the players delivered very sure tackling and a number of diving tackles from team captain Jillion Potter (UNM), Shaina Turley (San Diego Surfers) and others.

“We spent 30 minutes in our own end without giving up a point, but we made it hard on ourselves because we weren’t as organized defensively as we will be,” said Fugate.

Outstanding efforts from the match include counter attacking from fullback Ahrendt, which led to two tries in the first half, and defensive work and field leadership from number eight Potter.

The team’s next match is on Saturday, July 28 against the Manawatu RFC at the Rugby Institute in Palmerston North. After the match, the team will have the opportunity to spend time with Farah Palmer, New Zealand Black Ferns captain who led the team to its victory in the last World Cup.

USA U-23 vs Burnside WRFC
1. Naima Reddick, Cal State Chico; 2. Sheri Villa, American University; 3. Sarah Wilson, Ohio State; 4. Brea Hughes, Texas A&M; 5. Jessica Travers, UIC; 6. Emily Tunney, Philadelphia Women; 7. Phoebe Boone, UCSB; 8. Jillion Potter, UNM (Captain); 9. Tiffany McCoy, University of Northern Iowa; 10. Amber Benlian, Maryland Women; 11. Elaine Schlarb, Oregon State University; 12. Kelly Griffin, UCLA; 13. Kristy Lear, University of Minnesota; 14. Tonya Ansel, Sr. MN Mankato; 15. Kirsten Ahrendt, Dartmouth; 16. Dani Goodman-Levy, Vassar; 17. Krissy Vargas, Cal State Chico; 18. Libby Berg, MN Valkyries; 19. Kassie Drey, University of Northern Iowa; 20. Shaina Turley, San Diego Surfers; 21. Schmarrah McCarthy, Purdue; 22. Emilie Bydwell, Brown University.

USA 27
Tries: Kristy Lear, 2; Elaine Schlarb, 2 ; Schmarrah McCarthy (replacement), 1
Conversions: Kirsten Ahrendt

Barb Fugate, head coach
Martha Daines, assistant coach
Susan Whitwell, assistant coach
Annemarie Henning, program manager
Teresa Tucker, team manager
Nicole Titmas, athletic trainer

One down, two to go. Next up Manawatu!

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