As the 7th place match of the Women’s Premier League loomed, the DC Furies and Minnesota VAlkyries realized they each had one more shot at getting one win over the course of eight games this season. The Valkyries were coming off a 43-38 overtime loss to Keystone on Friday, while the Furies were recouping from its 20-5 defeat to New York in the tier two semifinals. An epic battle ensued but saw DC on top with a 22-17 win.
“It feels great,” DC coach Nancy Fitz beamed. “It’s really satisfying and it’s been a long time coming.
“It took us a while to get over losing [Friday] but we came in with a good attitude to go for it, and we played aggressively,” Fitz added. “We know they have big, strong runners and that we’d have to attack and hit them low and hard.”
DC struck first, and second. From a weakside pick off a scrum, Liz Hirschhorn dotted down the first try. Flyhalf Jess Shipley hit a hole in the defense then offloaded to center Beth Noto, who outpaced her opposite during the 40-meter race to the tryline, 10-0.
But Minnesota kicked it up a notch and answered with three tries to take a 17-10 lead. DC closed the gap with an Annie Antar try, and with 10 minutes to go, Jeanna Beard put the go-ahead points on the board with a fourth and final try, 22-17.
The majority of DC’s tries came after a sustained series of phases, typically seven or eight iterations in. While Fitz and team enjoyed the win, it’s simply a launching point for further growth.
“Our game plan came off for the most part,” Fitz said. “We had a little bit of a lull in the beginning of the second half, but we picked it up and started taking it to them. The team said that they can still do better, which is nice to hear [as a coach], but this is by far the best 80 minutes we’ve played. It’s nice to end on that [performance] – and it’s nice that we don’t have to play in a challenge match!”