A couple of weeks into the women’s DI club season, Glendale coach Lisa Rosen thought Chicago would be their biggest challenge of the season. After the Raptors’ 48-0 win against Chicago, it’s become evident how good Glendale has become over the last month.
“We've been focusing on our scrummaging, which hasn't been historically strong, and as a result each week it's getting better,” Rosen said. “We did some real-time video analysis at training, and will continue to do so as we approach Austin.”
Rosen watched Andrea Prusinski, Tyra McGrady, Gabe Fidelman, Hannah Stolba and Bethany Humphreys all cross for tries, and Stolba also kicked four conversions. But it was Sarah Wilson who really impressed the coach.
“Sarah Wilson, our captain and tight head prop, was stellar on offense and defense,” Rosen commended the Woman of the Match. “She is a rare combination of power, technique and work ethic, and she led from the front.”
But Chicago didn’t roll over and challenged Glendale’s physicality.
“Chicago was very tough at the point of contact,” Rosen said. “We turned over several balls at the counterruck, but fortunately for us they were not able to capitalize on our mistakes. They made a late break at the last moments of the game, but the ball was mishandled in goal, preserving the shutout.”
Saturday was Rosen’s last chance to experiment with different backline combinations against a live opponent. Glendale has a bye next week, which puts nationals three weeks out. Tonya Ansel, whose availability has been spotty this season, started at fullback, where she played for about 20 minutes the previous weekend. Bethany Wilson moved to outside center, and Humphreys slid over to inside.
In the forwards, there’s a nice battle for starting positions evolving in the front row.
“Gabe Fidelman and Heidi Bauer have been working very hard on the pitch,” Rosen said, “and with the addition of Carol Fabrizio (Santa Monica) and Jen Montoya (Black Ice), we have five-six solid front row players who are regularly competing for time. “
Taryn Brennan worked in at No. 8, Robin Roberts and Sara Edwards shared time at scrumhalf, and Colorado University grad Gedda Rodrigues also got her shot at flanker. All 23 players on the roster saw time.
“The biggest challenge for the Raptors right now is defense,” Rosen said. “The team is physical and tenacious, but our toughest defensive games came in the first two weeks of play, and to add to the challenge we will have one less game under our belts than everyone else [since St. Louis forfeited]. The responsibility is on us to work doubly hard at training to create situations that will stress and test our defensive system, and we'll be doing that.”