The girls U19/high school teams' seasons are culminating, and while some are peaking at state championships, others are looking toward nationals come June.
|Sacramento rallied to a 15-10 win over Mother Lode for the Pacific Coast Championship.|
First to book their tickets to Sandy, Utah, are Divine Savior and Lakewood high schools. The two met in the Midwest Championship, with the Holy Angels defeating longtime rival Lakewood 35-6 in the final.
"Lakewood was a phenomenal opponent," DSHA coach John Klein said. "They are a very impressive outfit - they're speedy and their athletic forwards bring it. Lakewood is known for their physicality, and we typically aren't, but we have a different team this year. We were able to match them in the physical aspect more so than years past. We took it to them in the forwards and were able to move the ball wide."
Outside center Elise Miller, fullback Emily Van Bibber and flyhalf Erin McCullough led in the backs, while flanker Sonya Pavela, No. 8 Aleja Ross and captain/hooker Payton Sweeny led in the forwards. They lead a young team, one that graduated more than a dozen seniors last year, but are stepping up their game to exceed Klein's expectations.
"I'm a little frustrated my girls could not step up their game and bring Coach Klein's girls a better final," Lakewood coach Andre Bruwer said. "We played sloppy and made mistakes, and you can't play like that against a team that is coached by Coach Klein; they will capitalize on your errors and make you pay, and that they did. They deserved the win 100%. I'm just a little frustrated we didn't do a better job against them."
Kettle Morraine finished third at the Midwest Championships, going 2-1 and shutting out Fox Chapel 24-0 in their place match. St. Joseph's finished fifth but is ranked in the top 25 considering their opening-round loss to DSHA was better than Fox Chapel's result in the semifinals. We also believe that a couple of Midwest teams that competed in the "festival" division could compete on the national level, including Catholic Memorial, which won it with a 10-0 win over Brookfield, in the final. Both teams are from DSHA's division in Wisconsin, and play in a truly competitive league.
The Pacific Coast will contest its championship this weekend, and the Sacramento Amazons have rallied from a slow start to win Northern California after a 15-10 win over Mother Lode, which served the defending champions their only league loss of the season. Mother Lode led 10-5 at halftime, but the Zons evened up in the third quarter, and then with no time left scored the go-ahead try for the win.
"There's been huge development since the beginning of the season," Sacramento coach Sefesi Green said. "We have a young team with a lot of first-year players, but their putting in the hard work and getting better with each game. They're more confident now and a lot more knowledgeable."
Sacramento is a community-based team and showcases a huge range in age, from sixth graders to 18 year olds. "Our size difference is huge," Green reflected on last year's team. "We're not as big, so we've become more technical this year. We don't have the brute strength as last year, so we're playing a simpler game plan. But the young girls are executing it well."
Sacramento will play Utah champion Lowland in its one national qualifier, however, it's uncertain whether the game will be for the first or second seed in the region. In Seattle, Washington champ Kent Crusaders will play Mother Lode for the bid to nationals.
In Southern California, Fallbrook, which has been decimating opponents, will play Back Bay in the final. Last year's finalist won the teams' league game very easily, and the same should be expected this time around. The following weekend, Fallbrook will play Sacramento in the California state championship, a competitive game that Fallbrook desperately needs in preparation for nationals.
The South will contest its state championship this weekend, and sees excellent teams in Ravenwood, Brighton, Karns and Maryville competing. The latter two played in a very heated match for the East title, but Karns repeated its early season victory with a 12-7 win. Currently, the South and West unions are slated to compete for the 8th seed to nationals, but considering that Colorado doesn't compete on the national stage anymore, it'll likely go to the top South team that's willing to travel to Utah.
The Northeast is playing a watered down championship this weekend at West Point. Only the Met NY is sending teams - New York and Union - while New York State and New England go unrepresented. Portland had put in an early-season bid to host NRUs, with every intention of competing for a nationals seed, but with competition originally scheduled to begin on Friday night and continue Sunday morning, Portland’s seven juniors, who always have to take the SATs on this date, would have been excluded, thereby crippling the team and making participation impossible. So that leaves New York and Union, the former of which won the team’s league match 22-20.
Finally, the Mid-Atlantic will name its nationals representative this weekend as well. All of teams compete under the Eastern Pennsylvania umbrella. West Carroll, Downingtown and Unionville all have undefeated records and are joined by North Bay. With exception of North Bay and West Carroll, none of the top four teams have played against one another, so it's difficult to gauge their relative strengths. Both Unionville and North Bay are on the short list of teams poised to crack the top 25, and this weekend's championship could see teams exchange positions on the rankings.
Girls' U19/High School Top 25 - May 4, 2011
1 (2) DSHA (Wisc.) (10-1) (13-1). Won Midwest Championship defeating St. Joseph's 36-0, Fox Chapel 42-0 and Lakewood 35-6 in the final
2 (1) Summit (Colo.) (8-0). Idle
3 (3) Fallbrook (Calif.) (6-0). Advances to So Cal Championship after defeating Fullerton 50-0 in semifinal
4 (4) Kent (Wash.) (5-0). Won Rugby Washington by defeating Budd Bay 45-0.
5 (5) Sacramento Amazons (Calif.) (7-1). Won Northern California championship defeating Mother Lode 15-10 in final
6 (6)Lakewood (12-1). Finished second at Midwest Championships, defeating Armstrong 32-0, Kettle Morraine 32-7, and losing to DSHA 35-6
7 (10) Mother Lode (Calif.) (7-1). Finished second in Nor Cal, losing to Sacramento 15-10 in the final
8 (8) West Carroll (Md.) (6-0). Won EPRU's West Division
9 (9) Portland (ME) (2-4). Defeated Algonquin 38-0, Lincoln-Sudbury 65-0
10 (6) Kettle Morraine (Wisc.) (8-3) (10-4). Finished 3rd at Midwest Championships: Defeated Traverse City 27-5, lost to Lakewood 32-7, defeated Fox Chapel 24-0
11 (12) Beaverton (Ore.) (7-0) (7-1). #1 Oregon seed after defeating West Linn 28-10
12 (14) Ravenwood (Tenn.). (6-0). Won Middle Tennessee title
13 (18) Karns (Tenn) (6-0). Defeated Maryville 12-7 for SMAC title
14 (12) Douglas County (Colo.) (6-2). Idle
15 (16) Maryville (Tenn.) (5-2). Lost to Karns Blue 12-7 in SMAC final
16 (11) Canby (Ore.) (4-1) (4-2). #2 seed heading into State Tournament after defeating Reynolds 45-27
17 (7) St. Joseph's Academy (Ohio) (4-2). Lost to DSHA 36-0, defeated Columbus (IN) 48-0 and Armstrong (MN) 19-0 for 5th in the Midwest
18 (15) Fairfax (Va.) (3-0) . Defeated Fort Hunt 39-7.
19 (unr) Catholic Memorial (Wisc.) (8-3). Won Midwest's DII with 10-0 win over Brookfield
20 (unr) Lowland (Utah) (6-1). Won Utah seed to Pacific Coast Championship after defeating Snow Canyon 12-5
21 (13) Brookfield (Wisc.) (6-5) (9-6). Finished 2nd in Festival Division of Midwest Championship
22 (18) Fairport (NY) (3-0). Defeated Kenmore West 25-0
23 (unr) Downington (Pa.) (4-0). Advances to MARFU Championship
24 (unr) New York (4-0). Playing in NRU Championship against Union
25 (unr) Union (NJ) (3-1). Playing in NRU Championship vs New York