A full afternoon of rugby, spanning over 4 hours, concluded with two more wins for the NYRC Women’s Team. With a strong and supportive turnout from the NYRC alumnae, the WPL squad slotted a second win against the Atlanta Harlequins, while the D1 side followed with a strong performance against the Brooklyn WRFC. The two fixtures gave opportunity to 38 New York players to continue showcasing their talent in the build towards 2017 Nationals.
Players and coaches agreed that Atlanta had a strong performance that forced NYRC to work hard for the full 80 minutes of the WPL match. NYRC succeeded in their aim to start the match strong: A reverse play from vice captain Shelby Lin (9) to front row Alexa Scott (2) put New York on the board only one minute after kickoff. NYRC continued to gain uncontested points for another twenty minutes, with tries from speedster Lisa Roselin (15) and loose-forward Natalie Kosko (7). Assistant Coach Ryszard Chadwick noted that he was particularly impressed with the back line during the first 40, including wingers Roselin (15) on attack and Magee (14) on defense. “In the first half it was clear that we could beat Atlanta around the edge by moving the ball wide quickly.” A wide break away turned try by top WPL scorer Kristen Siano (10) gave NYRC ahead 22-5 at the end of the first half.
The squad wasted no time in scoring early in the second half, however the remaining 30 minutes proved to be rather static with multiple technical errors and conceded penalties. “Atlanta has some dangerous ball carriers and plays with a lot of energy and pace” said vice captain Lin. “They also did a good job of disrupting the ball, which is something we need to continue to focus on.” The NYRC impact subs brought experience and energy that seemed to reset the team’s energy and give more go-forward. Stand out back row performance from Gio Cruz (19), scrum strength from prop Amber Chandu (18), and line breaks from winger Kerry Conlin (21) all contributed to a revived execution towards the end of the match. Despite the more challenging second half and an Atlanta try in the final 10 minutes, NYRC came away with a 36-12 win, extending their record to 6-0-0.
Captain Tiff Faaee noted that she always enjoys playing Atlanta, who she believes match the athleticism and strength of New York. “Atlanta is always a challenge. Their smart play, especially around the ruck, really put us on our toes to stay disciplined and work our systems.” Head coach James English was pleased with the outcome but knows that the team can do better. “We seemed to frustrate ourselves at times, trying to force the game instead of being patient” said English. “I’m happy with our progress as a squad but know that we have to step it up a level as we approach Nationals.”
The D1 match was, yet again, a near-perfect execution of phase play on attack and defense respectively. The first half included high scoring and several long break-aways from strong runners including Justina DeBruzzi (12), Juliette Conte (15) and Kerry Conlin (14). While support on attack and overall defense began to fade into the second half of the match, leadership from captain Sarah Minahan (9) continued to drive the team forward. Forward Autumn Stiles provided strong carries to provide go-foward. Center Erika Granger (13), however, stood out as a force to be reckoned with in her attack, as well as her high energy and positive attitude for the full 80 minutes. “I think it’s really hard to be at the pitch all day and still have the same energy levels at the end of the day” said captain Minahan. “I was proud of the team’s ability to rally and finish the game with a couple of tries.” The D1 match ended with a final score of NYRC 68-7 Brooklyn WRFC.
Only two more fixtures remain in the WPL regular season. Next weekend NYRC travels to Manassas, Virginia for a second match against the D.C. Furies. The following Sunday, November 5th is NYRC’s last home match at Randall’s Island, where they will be playing the Twin City Amazons to finish the regular season. A huge shout-out to the alumnae, family and friends who attended yesterday’s matches and epitomized what it truly means to play for the club. Your love and support was felt by the entire team and will continue to carry us to Nationals. Alright folks, back to work until next weekend!
Updated 19:53 - 22 Feb 2018 by Chad Hansen