Atlanta and Glendale are still in the heat for the women’s DI club title. The two posted big scores during today’s quarterfinals, as the Harlequins downed host Austin 55-5 and the Raptors shut out Belmont Shore 44-0.
Glendale and Belmont Shore kicked off the day’s action, and the Landsharks did well to challenge their heavily favored opponents. At the break, Glendale was only up 10-0.
“We had a slow start,” Glendale coach Lisa Rosen said. “We gave ourselves the most trouble. We were trying to be too perfect, and as a result we weren’t dynamic. Once we started looking up and reading the field, and playing off each, we started playing better.”
Flyhalf Hannah Stolba accounted for the two first-half tries, and slotted four conversions and a penalty over the course of the game. Rosen was pleased to see the team respond on fringe defense, as it was a big concern considering the team’s typical time spent on offense.
Rosen noted several players’ performances, including scrumhalf Sara Edwards, Gabe Fidelman, Andrea Prusinski, and first-year player Gedda Rodriguez.
“Jill [Potter] had a great game,” Rosen said. “She’s starting to show pre-Rugby World Cup form, had some crushing tackles on defense.”
Led by Sara Wilson, the pack did a good job of staying on the front foot, and Stolba managed the backline well, setting up centers Bethany Humphreys and Bethany Zick Wilson for numerous linebreaks. Once they slipped through the defense, wing Tyra McGrady was there for the finish.
Prusinski, Potter and McGrady (2) all dotted down in the second half, and Edwards added a penalty kick.
Rosen was able to work the whole bench and retain some freshness for tomorrow’s game against Atlanta. Glendale was also able to watch the Harlequins go to work against Austin.
“Atlanta is a top-notch team when it comes to kick returns, so we have to be careful and precise,” Rosen said. “They also did a great job of inserting runners into the backline, so we’ll need to be clear on defensive and tackling assignments.”
Atlanta raced out to a 26-0 lead over Austin, and once the score breached the 30-point mark, coach Jason Payne started pulling people out.
Although the Harlequins dominated the match in general, they were aptly challenged by Austin’s strong pack, and the front row in particular gave Atlanta some trouble. Austin was able to score in the second half after a series of Atlanta penalties.
Atlanta regularly attacked the channel between Austin’s flyhalf and inside center, and some holes opened up for the backs to score often. Flanker Liz Snodgrass and No. 8 Stephanie Bucci worked hard around the field, and flyhalf Heather Hale and MVP Kari Morrison lit it up in the backs.
Pat Neder, Morrison, Sue Uchneat were among the try scorers. Austin was able to score in the second half after a series of Atlanta penalties.
Payne and crew were able to catch the first half of the Glendale match. “Belmont was able to hold them for the first half, but they spent a lot of time on defense,” Payne said. “Glendale wore them down – their eightman [Potter] was really good and their 10 [Stolba] ran the game well. They were good across the board.”
Atlanta and Glendale will face off tomorrow for a bid to the final. The victor will play the winner of Chicago North Shore v NOVA.