Bishop O’Dowd exerted themselves against Mother Lode this weekend, defeating their Nor Cal rival 53-10 to improve to 2-0 in the region’s girls high school league. The convincing win has piqued the league's attention, and Bishop O'Dowd has made an early case for top two teams in Nor Cal.
Bishop O’Dowd scored 34 points in the first half, and then played a more even second 40, which ended 19-10 in Bishop O’Dowd’s favor. Junior fullback Olivia Bernadel-Huey (photo) was outstanding on the day – and every day – as she accounted for 23 points on three tries and four conversions.
“Our teams are similar, but Mother Lode have been the top team in Northern California for a couple years, and we have been on the losing side of this rivalry,” Bishop O’Dowd Director of Rugby Ray Lehner said. “They are sturdy, athletic and well drilled, and it was nice to turn it around tonight.”
What was the difference this time around? Bishop O’Dowd’s biggest strength lies in their backs, and Mother Lode concentrated their resources in the wrong area.
“It certainly felt like they overcommitted to the rucks, and that left our backs too much space to attack,” Lehner said. “Most of our tries came from moving the ball into the undefended wide channels.”
After Bernadel-Huey, the senior halfback combination of Gretchen Shaw (scrumhalf) and Nicole Ratto (flyhalf) saw four tries run in between the two of them. Fellow seniors Kimiko May (No. 8) and Rachel Keener (prop) also added five-pointers.
“I’m really proud of the team and coaching staff,” Lehner said. “This was a huge monkey to get of our back. Halfbacks Shaw and Ratto were exceptional. Our pack gave us plenty of go-forward. And as for our fullback, Bernadel-Huey, she is truly something special to watch – run, kick, pass or tackle, she can do it all.”
This is the boost that Bishop O’Dowd needed, and if they can keep building momentum throughout the season, then they’ll be in good shape for their April 20 meeting against the Sacramento Amazons, the league favorites.
The Amazons are also 2-0, after defeating Dixon 34-12 over the weekend. Dixon received some validation in their double-header weekend, taking a 57-26 win from Bullard. The biggest victory went to Pleasanton, which defeated Rio Linda 61-0.
Bishop O’Dowd 53
Tries: May, Keener, Ratto 2, Shaw 2, Bernadel-Huey 3
Cons: Bernadel-Huey 4
1 Rachel Keener, 2 Sabina Tuleja, 3 Bianca Ortiz-Pallen, 4 Caitlin Ratto, 5 Deja Pointer, 6 Kim Sweeny, 7 Haley Bunkers, 8 Kimiko May, 9 Gretchen Shaw (Anne Carper), 10 Nicole Ratto, 11 Stephanie Clement, 12 Maki Asrat (Kimi Russell-Halterman), 13 Meghan McQuiad, 14 Kara Luk (Paloma Navarro), 15 Olivia Bernadel-Huey