It’s been a good day so far for the Wisconsin team at the Girls’ High School/U19 National Championship. Both teams played in two terrific matches, ones in which the victors were never certain. Catholic Memorial defeated a feisty West Carroll 10-0, while Divine Savior eliminated Downingtown 14-0 to advance to the semifinals.
Catholic Memorial and West Carroll played a very even match through the first 10 minutes of the game, and play ping ponged from tryline to tryline. An excellent kicking game ensued between West Carroll fullback Maggie Miles and Catholic Memorial flyhalf Katie Dries. The effective kickers repelled several goal line stands and kept each other’s back three busy.
The turning point occurred 12 minutes in when Catholic Memorial No. 8 Katie Mueller barreled over the line for the five-pointer in the corner, and that gave Catholic the confidence to keep attacking at pace. Minutes later, wing Myra Dillett showcased her fantastic speed down the sideline for the corner try, 10-0. It was all Catholic Memorial needed, as the second half went scoreless.
Both teams had a little penalty trouble, but West Carroll a little more so. A couple of forward passes to their strong-running outside center killed a couple of attacking opportunities, as well. Both teams couldn’t capitalize on a couple of goal line stances, which speaks to the teams’ even level of skill. But Catholic Memorial was a little better on the day and heads to the semis.
Divine Savior looked a little nervous in the first half of their quarterfinal, and that may have been because Downingtown came out of the gate flying. The first 22 minutes belonged to Downingtown, who were not intimidated by DSHA’s storied history.
Downingtown spent a good amount of time in DSHA’s end but just couldn’t cross the line. DSHA was able to steal some possession in the ruck and move the ball quickly away from the breakdown, but the Holy Angels just couldn’t finish.
And that’s how DSHA scored their first try, which occurred in the second half. Possession changed hands in the breakdown a couple of times, but when DHSA reclaimed the ball, they moved it wide to outside center Emily Van Bibber, who hit the line so hard that she nearly knocked the ball on – nearly. But she managed to reign it in without losing a step and fly into the try zone. She converted her score for the 7-0 lead.
That try allowed Divine Savior to play a little more freely, and the back three had some fun with Downingtown’s clearing kicks. Wing Julia Hilbert was effective in the counterattacks and was the source of DSHA’s next try. She broke down the sideline, offloaded to game MVP No. 8 Aleja Ross, who trekked farther into enemy territory. From a breakdown, the ball worked out to Hilbert, who took the corner for the try. Fullback Kaitlin Malliet hit the conversion, 14-0.
Downingtown was an incredible opponent, but that deficit seemed to burdened their spirits and they couldn’t rally.
Divine Savior will play Lakewood in the semis, while Catholic Memorial will play Fallbrook.