If Chicago North Shore wanted to start a comeback, it began with this weekend’s game against Detroit. The alternative was falling to 1-3, with a tough match against the Austin Valkyries and a likely win against St. Louis to round out the season. But North Shore answered the call, and outlasted Detroit 10-5. Both teams are now 2-2 and very much in the hunt for the final two seeds to nationals (Glendale locked #1).
Detroit is an extremely physical side, and they didn’t hold back on the visitors. “It was a rough one,” North Shore’s Jenny Lui said. “Both teams took a while to get any sort of flow going. It was a sloppy game, and there was a lot of wind that everyone had to account for.”
North Shore broke the ice with an early try after some nice phase rugby down the pitch. Close to the tryline, flanker Liz Baker-Jennings dotted down in the corner for the 5-0 lead.
There the scoreline sat for the remainder of the half, as the teams tried to build some momentum but just couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities given.
“In the second half, we were able to pick up the pace of the game and had some nice attacking rugby,” Lui said. “But we still need to do a better job of capitalizing on our opponents' mistakes and finishing opportunities.”
Midway through the second stanza, North Shore found itself on the Detroit’s five meter with an attacking scrum. The pack set a solid platform that allowed No. 8 Kate Daley the room to push for the goal line. She put her head down, kept her legs driving, and forced her way over the line, 10-0.
Detroit answered about 15 minutes later, when wing Melissa Martinez scurried into the try zone, but the Trademen couldn’t close the gap any farther.
“We're glad to have the win, but I think we all know we haven't put together a complete game of rugby yet,” Lui said. “So we'll be working hard in practice this week to continue to improve and prepare for our next match.”
This Saturday, North Shore will host Austin, which downed Black Ice 109-5 this weekend. It will certainly be a tough match, and the hosts need to bank some bonus points to better their chances for playoffs.