Glendale Merlins Men 64-10 over NYAC & Women 32-17 Over ORSU
GLENDALE, CO – It was another action-packed rugby weekend at Infinity Park as the Glendale Merlins men and women hosted top competition in another double header.
Once again, both home sides dominated, with the Merlins men bringing home a 64-10 victory over visiting New York Athletic Club (NYAC) in a non-league match while the Merlins women continued their undefeated run in the Women’s Premier League, dispatching Oregon Sports Union (ORSU) by a score of 32-17.
The men kicked off the afternoon’s events, facing a NYAC side stacked with its share of USA Eagles.
Glendale started the match out slowly, giving up possession multiple times in the opening minutes before eventually breaking through with a converted penalty to take a 3-0 lead 12 minutes into the match.
“We started a little slow in the first half and NYAC came out very physical,” explained Merlins hooker Zach Fenoglio. “We weren’t executing a lot of the simple things very well to begin with and that lead to some struggles to begin the game.”
Glendale eventually settled, scoring four consecutive tries to build a 31-0 lead. But the visitors found the try zone just before the half to cut the lead to 31-5.
“At half, we had a big chat about taking a breath and getting back to the basics,” Fenoglio said. “NYAC came out strong and put us under pressure in the set piece. They are a quality team and credit to them on capitalizing on our mistakes, especially in the first half.”
Following the men’s victory, the Glendale Merlins women took to the pitch against ORSU. It was another defensive struggle for the first quarter hour of play between the two sides until Glendale broke through, turning defense into offense as Juliann Tordonato’s interception led to the first try of the match and a 7-0 Merlins lead.
ORSU would respond with a converted penalty to cut the lead to 7-3, but another try and converted penalty would extend Glendale’s advantage to 15-3 just past the half-hour mark. Capping a first half which began as a defensive deadlock and ended with offensive excitement, Anna Symonds scored ORSU’s first try of the match, to close the lead to just a try, 15-10 at halftime.
But the second half would begin just as the first did, with Glendale and ORSU holding each other out of the try zones for nearly another quarter hour of play. The Merlins would finally get the ball moving, however, ending with a dynamic run from Carmen Farmer which she would cap with a try, giving the hosts a 20-10 lead and bloodying Farmer’s face in the process.
It would spark some more offense from Glendale, with Christian Suda finding the try zone minutes later and cushioning the Merlins lead to 25-10 in the 62nd minute. Ten minutes later, Jenny Lui would score the third consecutive Merlins try to extend Glendale’s lead to 32-10 with under 10 minutes remaining.
Symonds would get her second try of the match for the visitors however as ORSU would get the final try of the match, but fall as Glendale held on for the 32-17 victory.
The victory moved Glendale’s record to a perfect 4-0 in WPL play this season, but as the Merlins women have preached all year long, each win is just a small step towards their ultimate goal.
“We would really like to see ourselves win the championship again,” said Merlins women’s head coach Kitt Ruiz. “We had some skills that were lacking last year so that’s our focus now and we’d love to take it this year.”
Up next for the Glendale Merlins WPL team is another league match at home as they host the Berkeley All-Blues next Saturday at Infinity Park (5 p.m.).
Stadium gates will open at 2 p.m. Tickets for both stadium matches are available for $6 online at GlendaleMerlins.com or at the gate.
Outside the stadium, the Merlins D2 Men will kick off the day’s action with a 1 p.m. match against Park City Haggis.
About Glendale Merlins Rugby
The Glendale Merlins represent the future of Glendale rugby. Infinity Park has been the center of American rugby for a decade. During those years, all Glendale rugby clubs played under the same name: the Raptors. Each Raptors team contributed to building the shared culture of winning, excellence, and community involvement for which Glendale is known.
In 2017, nearly all Raptors teams will begin the next chapter of the Glendale rugby story as they begin play under a new identity — the Glendale Merlins. Named after a bird of prey known for its ferocity, aerial acrobatics, and sense of loyalty, these teams will continue to build on the tradition and reputation they’ve built for themselves. The elite men’s team will continue to use the Raptors name, however, this fall the team will compete under the Merlins brand. The majority of this side will look to become the Glendale Raptors competing in the inaugural season of Major League Rugby.
The Merlins teams consistently attract the top young rugby talent in the U.S., with many players going on to play for the U.S. national teams and other elite American rugby clubs. The players are supported by the rugby-specific facilities at Infinity Park, including the and a deep roster of renowned coaches and trainers.
The teams that comprise the Glendale Merlins are:
- Elite women’s team – Women’s Premier League
- Women’s development team – Division I
- Men’s division I team
- Men’s division II team
- U20 men’s team