Pittsburgh, PA - Two motivators were at work during the Women's Collegiate All Star Championship's final day. In the Tier 2 consolation match, the Mid-Atlantic and Southern California played for pride, eager to exit the weekend with a win; while the South and Pacific Coast fought each for the invitation to Tier 1 play in 2012.
|MARFU's Cavanaugh initiated today's scoring (Marvin Dangerfield)|
|The South missed Katie Lorenz, who sprained her ankle Friday.|
The Tier 2 final necessitated overtime before a victor could be named, and it was the South that broke the stalemate, running in one extra try for the 20-15 win over the Pacific Coast. It was a fitting end for the South, whose 17-12 semifinal win over the Mid-Atlantic evolved in the final minutes of the game, thanks to a Kimber Rozier converted try. The Grizzlies had an easier route to today's game, having shut out SoCal 41-0 in the opening round.
The South didn't want to play catch-up in the final and ran out to a 10-0 lead thanks to tries from Melissa Ritt and Jessica Peterson. Outside center Hannah Carey and flyhalf Hannah Lockwood pulled the Grizzlies back into contention, evening the score with five-pointers apiece.
Tied at 10-all, South wing Maddy Clark reinstated her team's five-point lead for the Panthers' third try of the day. But the Grizzlies worked to the buzzer and were rewarded with a final try from Lockwood, who dotted down for the third time this weekend.
The South would reign in the end, however, as inside center Peterson repeated her first-half efforts with a final try, 20-15 win and invitation to next year's Tier 1 competition. During the 10 years the women's NASCs have been contested, the South has never competed in the top tier, so this weekend's performance was particularly significant for the Panthers' program.
The Mid-Atlantic, however, is fairly familiar with Tier 1 play but will have to wait another year before it can mount a campaign to return. The Sharks were able, however, to salvage some redemption today after its 37-15 win over Southern California.
Like its semifinal opponent, MARFU was in no mood to play from a deficit and ran in three tries during the first half. Wing Erica Cavanaugh (Virginia), wing Gabrielle Dixon (Longwood) and outside center Monique Compito (Virginia Tech) accounted for the five-pointers while West Chester's Megan Lamm hit the conversion, 17-0.
The point margin established in the first half was all MARFU needed for the win, but the Sharks continued to lay it on thick in the second stanza, sending Ashley Lee across the tryline, as well as Dixon and Compito for their second scores of the game. To SoCal's credit, the team never gave up and responded with back-to-back tries from Kristyn Foster (Arizona State) and Evelyn Ashenbrucker (UC San Diego), 30-10.
The teams traded tries to round out the scoring, with MARFU's Cheryl Johnson (West Chester) and SoCal outside center Foster dotting down again, 37-15.
In 2012, the West will be relegated to Tier 2 competition, while the South will be promoted to Tier 1.
Stay tuned for player and coach reactions to the weekend.