Central Washington Women’s Rugby Wins Home opener Against Army

September 25, 2016

Central Washington Women’s Rugby Wins Home opener Against Army

Logos: Central Washington University Wildcats and Army West Point Black Knights

Doug Coil

The Central Washington University women’s rugby team won their home opener in Ellensburg, Washington on Saturday (Sep 24) over Army 63-17 in a National Intercollegiate Rugby Association league match. It was the first meeting ever between these two elite women’s rugby teams.

Five different Wildcats scored tries for the Wildcats, including six from Suiluana A’au.

Mel Denham, CWU Head Coach said “Army have some very physical and talented players which was a challenge for us. We have been working on our defensive pressure and we’re able to contain Army’s attack.”

It took only 34 seconds for Central Washington to score, as Michel Navarro went right up the right wing for a try off the kickoff.

Suiluana A’au then scored her first try just a few minutes later as she found a gap in the defense and broke from near midfield down the left touchline for a 10-0 lead.

Mel Denham noted that “Sui’s linespeed was a factor. On attack we played at a high tempo which was our goal and were able to find space around the field and exploit it.  Michel was consistently dangerous with her work rate around the field, slicing through Army’s defense.  When Army did have the ball junior Taylor Duncan was a menace at the tackle, racking up multiple turnovers.”

A’au had another try in the sixth minute after Cassidy Meyers executed a grub kick and A’au picked and went in for a try and a 15-0 lead.

Ten minutes later the Wildcats were driving again, but a staunch Army defense held up the ball in goal for a 22 meter drop.

Army’s first scoring opportunity occurred in the 19th minute of the match, but their penalty kick bounced off the crossbar.

The Wildcats would score again in the 25th minute when Ashlee Byrge off loaded to Carrie Vaillancourt for a try.

Two minutes later Navarro found a gap, but Army’s fullback Kirsten Redmon made a try saving tackle. Jennifer Johnson gained possession and went in for a try. Byrge added the conversion for a 27-0 lead.

A’au gained a hat trick when she breached a tough Army defense for a try, also converted by Byrge to put the Wildcats up 34-0.

A minute later, Army took the restart and after a long run down the left wing by Tosha Wilson-Lattimore, she touched down for Army’s first points. The conversion was missed and the score was 34-5.

With no time in the first half, A’au intercepted an Army offload and went in for her fourth try. Byrge made her third conversion for a 41-5 lead at halftime.

During the second half, Yana Manoa and Jennifer Johnson each had tries and Suiluana A’au also added her 5th and 6th tries. (48, 55, 61 and 74th minute)

Army added its second try of the match in the 72nd minute. Sam Sullivan scampered up the left touchline and went in for a try. Bayleigh Gable then added the conversion. Gable also scored a try on the final play of the match. With that, Central Washington secured a 63-17 win over Army.

Central Washington played four previous matches before yesterday’s contest. They split matches between both the University of Victoria and the University of Lethbridge and are now 3-2 on the season and 1-0 in NIRA play. Next weekend they will make the trek across country to play Norwich University on Saturday October 1st and then against American International College on Oct. 2.

The Black Knights dropped to 2-2 on the season and in the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA). The Black Knights will travel to Notre Dame College for a Oct. 1st match at 11am.

Army: 1. Taylor Jessop (Hannah Whisnant) 2. Sarah Meier 3. Nicola Newton (Reilly Kissinger) 4. Tosha Wilson-Lattimore 5. Sydney Dossett (Sara Emsley) 6. Olivia Capasso 7. Elexa Leach (Sophia Schwanebeck) 8. Giovanna Ferguson-Lewis 9. Mackenzie Garner (Rebecca Jeffrey) 10. Megan Rogers 11. Zye Crittington (Sam Sullivan) 12. Bayleigh Gable 13. Jill Bottarini 14. Rebecca Stipp (Courtney Smith) 15. Kirsten Redmon (Savannah Murray)



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