Written by Jackie Finlan    Sunday, 13 May 2012 21:37    PDF Print Write e-mail
Kent #5 HS in the Nation
School Age - Girls

Kent won the 5th place match over West Carroll with an emphatic 27-5 win at the Girls’ High School Championship today. Kent advanced to the consolation final after losing their opener to eventual finalist Lakewood 34-26, then defeating Downingtown 17-12 in the semifinals. West Carroll battled Catholic Memorial to a 10-0 loss in their opener then beat the Sacramento Amazons 27-17 in their second match.

Kent's Asinate Serevi was a demon in the lineout and on the run. (Dobson Images)

But it was all Kent during the teams’ last match of the tournament. From the opening kickoff, flyhalf Cassidy Meyers dotted down and converted her own try for the 7-0 lead. The standoff was remarkable all weekend and a true playmaker. She’s got a great boot, good vision and sets her teammates up well. She’s played for the USA U20s and didn’t escape a talking-to from USA Women’s National team coach Pete Steinberg. To boot, Meyers won the state wrestling championship in her weight class this year.

Fullback Ellen Morrison-Bala added a penalty kick in the 27th minute to end the first half with a 10-0 lead, and at this point, West Carroll was still very much in the game.

“West Carroll is always physical and well coached,” Kent coach Rex Norris said. “I was really proud that our defense was structured well.”

The Kent offense found some more fluidity in the second half, and at the 42nd minute, flanker Asinate Serevi got a big breakaway through the belly of the defense. She shrugged off fullback Maggie Myles, who otherwise was very effective in the backfield and with ball in hand but started to show some fatigue, and dove over just in time as three defenders collapsed on her at the tryline.

It’s no coincidence that Serevi is a standout player; her uncle is Waisele Serevi and he’s coached the tall, bruising junior in 7s.

“She’s a pretty dynamic player,” Norris said of the loose forward who stole multiple West Carroll lineouts. “She’s only been playing 15s for three months and has been playing 7s this whole time before. We stuck her out in the backs [when injuries necessitated the move], and it wasn’t an issue. Normally you stick a No. 8 out there and they don’t know what to do, but she does.”

Kent scored again after Meyers' boot moved them deep into West Carroll’s end. Scrumhalf Devon Vieira picked weak off the scrum for the try, 20-0 with 18 minutes to play. Kent’s halfback connection was arguably the most dynamic pairing in the tournament.

“Devon stands out,” Norris reflected on players who made an impact on the day. “Her score put the game out of reach for West Carroll. She’s also on rugby scholarship to play at Quinnipiac University.”

Norris also tipped his hat to No. 8 Roujan Khorrami, who had some big barreling runs up the gut, dragging defenders as she looked for support.

West Carroll responded with a try from scrumhalf Jordan Maxey minutes later, but Kent had the last word as Serevi scored her second try of the day and Leah Ingold converted.

It was a great finishing performance for the young Washington team. Twenty of the 26 players who traveled were finishing out their first year of rugby, and Norris did a great job readying the team for this level of competition. They played Fallbrook twice, Mother Lode (which won Northern California), the Oregon state champs, Canada’s Shaunigan Lake and beat all but the current high school champions. With all that success and confidence, Kent wasn’t playing at nationals for experience; they were here to win it.

“We started off shaky [against Lakewood in the quarterfinals], but finished with 14 unanswered points at the end,” Norris said. “That’s all we talk about – how you finish – so I was really proud of them.”