Big things lie ahead for Kent’s Cassidy Meyers. A high school senior, she’s already in the USA Women’s National Team pool, and is actually missing the first two days of the Top 60 camp to play with her team at the National Invitational Tournament. The decision to travel to Racine, Wisc., has proven to be a rewarding one, as Kent is poised to face Fallbrook in tomorrow’s DI final.
“Every year we lose about 10 seniors, and this year we have a lot of speed and youth,” Meyers said. “Most of the girls played other sports, so they understand that you need to be an athlete to play, and we’ve put that to good use. And, of course, we have Rex Norris, who is the best coach you can ask for.”
The uptick in athleticism saw players quickly embrace the style to which Kent was aspiring, and the tempo of play has increased accordingly. Through league, Kent was accustomed to scoring upward of 60 points against opponents, so the two tough games against West Carroll and Divine Savior Holy Angels were unique experiences for the team.
“There isn’t much competition in Washington, so we face our toughest opponents here and at the Fullerton tournament,” Meyers said. “We responded great. We stayed calm, told each other to just play rugby. We weren’t coming to nationals originally, so we had a ‘nothing to lose, everything to gain’ kind of attitude’ and it amplified our game.”
It took some time for Kent to realize their 22-20 victory over DSHA, and the spark came after outside center Asinate Serevi took in an intercept try from Kent’s end.
“That really changed the mood,” Meyers said. “We realized we were still in it. … I was pleased by our defense in this game and our ability to bounce back. We were down a significant amount, and being able to come back, play the Crusader way and beat them was definitely awesome. That is the challenge. In previous years, we’ve had girls crying in the end zone, bringing the whole mood down. So to be able to pull everyone together and stay focused was a challenge.”
The biggest challenge comes tomorrow against Fallbrook, but Meyers has the ability to inspire, not only with her high-level experience, but also in her play. More times than not, Meyers would track down a potential breakaway with a smothering cover tackle, or quickly tap through a penalty and weave her way through traffic. She’s the heart of the team, and Kent does well to follow her lead.
“We need to start with the intensity that we ended today’s game with,” Meyers looked ahead to the final. “We have to come out hard and remember that we’re in a national championship, a place we haven’t been in a long time. We have to leave it all on the field.”
Meyers will head to Greeley, Colo., immediately after the NIT final and join 59 other women at the senior players camp. She’ll leave that assembly early to join the Junior All American camp in Chula Vista, Calif., where she’ll vie for a spot on the team heading to the U20 Nations Cup in England. Once that tour concludes, Meyers will join Fallbrook’s Megan Pinson at American International College, where both have secured rugby scholarships.
“I never imagined that I’d get a rugby scholarship, not even last year,” Meyers said. “I always thought I’d go to school for soccer. I didn’t think about it until this year when colleges started asking about me. I’m excited, it’s a new style, but I’ll miss the Crusaders.”
Meyers has one more performance with Kent before she bids farewell, and then it’s off to bigger and brighter adventures.