September 20, 2016
Wisconsin Women’s Rugby Beat Minnesota Valkyries, Gain First Win As D1 Team
Photo: Wisconsin Women’s Rugby Club
Wisconsin Women’s Rugby Club Release
Put a check mark in the win column for Wisconsin Women’s Rugby! With a physical and hard fought game this past Saturday, we were able to pull off our first win as a Division 1 team after defeating the Minnesota Valkyries 40-17.
It wasn’t until a little over halfway into the first half that a try was allowed from either team, and although the Valkyries were the first to score it didn’t come easy. Wisconsin managed to fend them off from getting too close to our zone by powering through numerous scrums and pulling off big hits that stopped breakaways in their tracks. Minnesota had great pressure on us as well, pushing forward and keeping a steady wall that was tough to penetrate to get into their zone. A few penalties allowed some wiggle room for 8-man Grace Hovde to get clear kicks off and continue our momentum forward. Minnesota patiently moved the ball further into our zone after winning a line out, and the first try was scored. Kick no good, Valkyries up 5-0. Wisconsin was quick to answer though, as Grace powered her way back up the field to set up Ashley Shaw who was then able to outwork a couple Valkyries to get a try of her own. #CaptainConnection. Elisa Becker made the kick, good guys now up 7-5. Becker also then quickly took back possession after the resetting kick, and after some handiwork from backs Shaw and Bree Valenza, hooker Emily ‘Mouth’ Mastandrea was able to punch in a try. Becker again with the made conversion, we extend the lead to 14-5. Minnesota wasn’t giving up yet however, they kept up the pressure and found some gaps in our defense to get back onto the board. Conversion kick for them no good, we hold them to 14-10 at the half.
Coming out of the half, keeping a level head, cleaning up our passes, and staying in support of each other were our big goals, and we soon followed through on all of them. We took some big (late) hits that left Minnesota to play with 14 on their side, but they still were able to utilize space efficiently to get in their last try and conversion kick of the game. Valkyries now with the 17-14 lead. Minnesota continued to maintain possession of the ball, until fullback Sybil Levine got her hands on the ball and made a terrific run back into Valkyrie territory for the try. Missed conversion kick, and Wisconsin takes a narrow lead, 19-17. Minnesota once again came up with pressure, and knocked us briefly back on our heels, until a knock on gave us possession back and we ran it back all the way to their 10 meter line. A scrum allowed for rookie Laura Adams to run it in for the try and Becker makes the kick. 26-17. Not long after, Grace had an amazing run off a Minnesota kick, and easily scored. If you blinked you missed it, but back-to-back tries and made conversions extended our lead 33-14. Minnesota again went down to 14 players after a high tackle call was made, and flanker Lauren McCormack then had a great steal off a lineout to get possession back. The ball made its way out to prop Tamara Wade, and she drove it in for our final try. Becker again pulls through, Wisconsin 40, Minnesota 17. In the final minutes of play, the Valkyries brought it back to inside our 5 meters, but we had players on the try line ready and waiting to hold it up. A stolen scrum from Wisconsin gets the ball out, and we boot it out of bounds to end the game. The whistle blows, and we have our first win in Division 1!
Next up: WWRFC vs. Chicago North Shore in Illinois this coming Saturday!
Player of the Match: Ashely Shaw (Backs Captain, outside center)
Minnesota’s Pick for Player of the Match: Sybil Levine (Fullback)