The D.C. Furies ended their season on a high note, defeating local rival Keystone 46-18 for 7th place in the Women’s Premier League. D.C. needed to rebound from two tough matches: They lost their final league game 31-29 to Keystone, then dropped their Friday semifinal to New York 22-17.
“It’s nice to be in a game, but when you lose by a try, it’s hard because you beat yourself up for every mistake,” D.C. Furies coach Nancy Fitz said of Friday’s loss. “We had a really good practice yesterday. People came in positive and knew they had to prove themselves today.
“We’ve played Keystone twice, so we knew what we had to do,” Fitz said of the 7th place match. “In our last game, we didn’t stop them and they had possession for about 60 minutes. And when we got the ball, tried to play too fast and didn’t make good use of the ball. So today we talked about stopping them so we had more possession and being patient when we got the ball. The backs had a goal of good execution with no dropped passes or forward passes. We didn’t quite get there, but it was pretty close.”
The first half was tight, with D.C. taking a 24-13 lead off tries from Rachel Griendling, Jaime Albarelli, Joanna Bader and Liz White. Emily Miller slotted two conversions. Keystone got five-pointers from Ashley Nesby and France Male, and a penalty from Khaselev Nelly. Keystone kept up the pressure in the third quarter and pulled to within six with a Devon Boyle try.
“We were able to use the wind and some strategic kicking in the second half to pin them back,” Fitz said. “We were focused for 80 minutes. It was the best mental game we played this year.”
D.C. pulled away as the game wore on, getting additional tries from Katie Bell, Griendling’s second and Jess Shipley, while Miller added two more conversions. Fitz credited the win to the team, but picked out a few people who have been integral to the season as a whole.
“Katie Bell, our captain, played whatever we needed – 10, 13, 9,” Fitz said. “She’s really focused and a hard worker. She was our first backs captain and did an outstanding job. Emily Miller at 15, prop Jocelyn Richards, locks Jo Bader and Darcy Miller were there day in and day out. We had some great rookies this year who made a huge impact. Ellen Danford and Jaime Albarelli started every game, and it was nice to get two All Americans come right into the starting lineup.”
Keystone has indicated that they’re dropping out of the Women’s Premier League and Atlanta, the DI champion, has petitioned for inclusion. The WPL has yet to see a team leave the league and return after rebuilding.
“We began and ended the season with a win, which was nice,” Fitz said. “Next year, we need to add some wins in the middle.”