Boston Women’s traveled to the D1 National Championshp Quarter and Semi Final weekend in Pittsburgh PA May 17th and 18th. We had a tough job ahead of us, facing back to back games Saturday and Sunday in an amazing pool of D1 talent with Northern Virgina (NOVA), Chicago North Shore and Philadelphia Women. But with a full roster, a ton of support from friends alumni and family, the team was ready to face Philadelphia in the Quarterfinal Match up on Saturday:
Saturday: Boston Women vs. Philadelphia Women
With a late kick-Off at 5pm, the team arrived at the field early – to check in and watch some great playoffs rugby to prepare for the game. As the team got together to start warm-ups, the skies darkened and the most amazing mix of downpouring rain, gusting winds, and driving hail assailed the fields. Spectators ran for the clubhouse, players held down team tents, the fields went from soft to swampy and we took this as a sign that this game would be like no other…
Taking the field, Philadelphia began to play a tough ball-in-hand forwards game, adapting well to the conditions as their dominant pack punched up the field. But Boston expected this style of play from the seasoned team, and was ready to meet each punch with a low, driving tackle. Philadelphia scored first with a pick off the back of a ruck, and a punch into the tryzone for an unconverted score. But Boston remained focused, sure that with lots of time left in the game that there would be opportunities to play our game.
And there were. The Boston backs worked to the outside creating opportunity time and again for breakaways, but the normally break-neck speed of our back three was slowed by the muddy conditions, and opportunities kicked away by the opposition. Finally a quick play off a Boston line-out allowed our backs to make their move – and they slipped through Philadelphia defenses and scored an unconverted try. Matched 5 and 5, Philladelphia utilized their dynamic loose forwards to punch up the field and put one more forward try into the record before the half. As the whistle was blown: Philly was up 10-5, the sun began to shine on the muddied match and Boston had to come out strong in the second.
And we came out with a vengence. Boston brought momentum into the second half, breaking the line, making quick rucks and attacking the Philadelphia wall. Five minutes into the half, Boston attempted a punch at the tryline and Philly held us back, but as Philly looked to defend at the backs, Boston snuck back to the inside with a forward punch up and over the previous ruck and into the tryzone! Scored between the uprights, the Boston kicker made her conversion and Boston took the lead in the game, 12-10, with 35 minutes left to play.
Philladelphia Women came back crashing – testing the Boston defense at each hinge, moving across the field, picking from the back of a ruck, passing to a forward pod, attacking the back line. But everywhere they tried, they found Boston players to stop them. Conditions brought knock-ons from both teams, but time and again, try-line stand after try-line stand, Boston stopped Philadelphia from earning a try. There were opportunities for both teams, lost by a slide in the mud or a pass slipping through muddied hands. But the defense stayed strong and as the time passed away, Boston had maintained the lead for the win! This was an epic match up – every player left the field elated…and ready to shower, ice bath, and take on Chicago North Shore in the Semifinal the next day.
BWRFC prepares for a 5-meter scrum against Philadelphia Women - under a rainbow after a downpour.
Sunday: Boston Women vs Chicago North Shore
Sunday the victors of the two quarterfinal games met in the semifinal match and that meant BWRFC vs Chicago North Shore. As Chicago was the 2011 National Champion, we knew that we were up against a powerhouse 8, 9, 10 eagle combo and a well experienced team. But this was the game we were waiting for and the team prepared to test ourselves against the best.
The game began with a Chicago kick to Boston, and an early start to our patterns. The forwards worked to control the breakdown, while the backs dealt with an aggressive front three. Chicago scored early as their forwards ran with pace into contact, and stabilized ball quickly. Boston answered with line breaks around the outside – challenging the defense of the Chicago back three. But as Chicago played a measured offense – attacking the hinge and kicking for space – Boston struggled to capitalize on opportunities. Penalties and handling errors plagued the Boston squad, and the early Chicago lead went unanswered. While tremendous efforts were made and breakaways earned on offense, we simply could not finish on our chances. When the final whistle blew, the score was 22-0, a fight lost by the young Boston squad, and a feeling to never forget as we end one season and look to the next.
Season Wrap Up and Thank You
This newly restructured competitive format from USA Rugby started with league matches in Septemeber of 2013 and ended for Boston Women’s in May 2014. During that time, the team went undefeated in all our league matches until the National Semi-Final Match. This is a testament to a ton of hard work, extra hours, and so much heart displayed by this team. The players that stepped onto the field completed their job for each other, never letting each other down, living up to the effort put onto the pitch by the woman next to her. We will take this experience and community with us as we begin preparing to do this again next year, ready to find a better result in 2015!
Thank you to our coaches, Maggie Conley and Dimitri Efthimiou, who put so much time and effort into our season. And especially to Dimitri, thank you for turning the game on its head and infusing practices with passion, expertise and humor. We appreciate your unfailing faith.
To Alumni, Friends and Family: Your support has been so constant through this long season – we loved seeing you at leagues matches home and away in the fall, and even our playoff matches in Burlington and Pittsburgh brought friends, family and alumni to the sidelines. Your support made it possible for players to travel together during the playoffs season and ensured many an opportunity to be part of a tremendous season and the growth of our team. We carried you all on the field with us and we can’t wait to see you again next season!
GET READY TO PLAY SUMMER SEVENS!
The Boston Sevens season will be starting in June 4th! If you’re a new player or a college player home for the summer looking for a fun team to practice, play and keep up your fitness with – then COME JOIN BOSTON! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to be in the know or just stop by at practice! Here’s where you can find us:
Mondays at 6:30pm @ Madison High School Football Field (behind school)
Wednesdays at 6:30 @ Moakley Park in S. Boston (by the outdoor hockey rink)
CAPE COD SEVENS IS COMING – And it’s Animal Kingdom Themed!
Get ready for another fantastic weekend on the cape with all the best women’s club and college teams! Check out the Facebook event below to get more information:
Cape Code Sevens – Facebook Event