Like DII finalist Albuquerque, Maryland's Severn River made its first appearance at the Women's DII Club Championship this weekend. Both teams logged their lone losses to eventual champion Albany, and both teams impressed spectators with their strong debut performances.
After losing to Albany in the opening round, Severn River downed Santa Monica 29-5 in the consolation semifinals, then defeated Ft. Miami 24-20 for 5th place.
But before Severn River would toast its 2-1 weekend, the team found itself with a sizeable deficit, down 20-5 into the second half. Another 10 minutes would pass before the team was able to build some momentum. Using their sizeable wings to open up space and then flood with support, the offense started to find its legs in the open field and get the offense rolling. Star inside center Jeanna Beard put up the first of her two tries, breaking through the middle and bouncing off a couple of defenders for the score. Then captain and no. 8 Candace Coston got the go-ahead points, scoring off a lineout.
Severn River absorbed hit after hit, protecting its goal line for 15 minutes as Ft Miami tried desperately to put a second-half score on the board, but the Mid-Atlantic team buckled down on defense and held the line.
"It's hot as heck out here," Coston said of the Arizona weather, "so you'd think Miami would have the edge on us. But our fitness was superb, we were able to make better tackles, and eventually wore them down."
And it was enough for the win.
Flyhalf Katie Fitzgerald, who is usually the team's starting scrumhalf but moved to #10 due to injuries, stepped up to lead the backs, and pack players Kaitlyn King, Jaclyn Melsopp and Diedre Crovo continued to punish the opposition over the two-day, three-game weekend.
Reflecting on the weekend, Coston and team were very pleased with their performance. "We took a lot away from this weekend," Coston said. "We saw the level of play that we need to achieve, but it was a positive experience and we're still building. We came in as 6th and are leaving as 5th."