In their first trip to DI nationals, Detroit advances to the semifinals after defeating Seattle 37-12. Detroit will face host Atlanta, which defeated Chicago 60-0 in their quarterfinal.
“The first half was a dog fight,” Detroit coach Shawn Nelson said. “It looked like a game that was being played in the rain and mud. Messy, dropped passes, missed tackles – we played a lot of defense. We started to find some rhythm in the second half but the first half was the hardest period we’ve played.”
The first half was pretty. Seattle found the most success through their forwards, whose most lethal weapon was the driving lineout
“We cleaned up our mistakes, started retaining possession and got cleaner ball,” Nelson said. “Seattle is a forward-dominated team who like to ruck, bang off the ruck and push on scrums. It eats up time but then we’d get a lucky bounce or steal possession and be back on track.”
The backs shone in the second half and saw the majority of tries come through their hands of players like Alyssa Boff, Melissa Martinez (2) and Michelle Wong.
Detroit brought 20 girls to Atlanta but Nelson isn’t worried about the team’s longevity. Although they’ll have quite the test against the Harlequins.
“It’ll be like playing ourselves,” Nelson said while watching Atlanta defeat Chicago. “They’re the same size and speed; 1 to 15, they’re a mirror image.”
Regardless of what happens tomorrow, Detroit has already achieved their top goal of the season.
“Our first goal was to go undefeated during the regular season,” Nelson said. “Our second goal was the final four. We’re excited for the win, but we’re not content.”