[Photo: Ashley Kmiecik and the Emerald City Mudhens looks for two road wins this weekend. Cynthia Wright photo]
It’s a big weekend for Emerald City, who are doubling up on the road this weekend. The Mudhens are still looking for their first win of the women’s DI club season, and they’ll have two opportunities against the San Francisco Fog and Nor Cal Triple Threat.
Although Emerald City is 0-2, those two losses came to the two strongest teams in the CR1 – Seattle and ORSU – and both victors only won by two tries. One might think that the toughest days are behind the Mudhens, but that prospect might isn’t even certain. When Seattle traveled down to northern California, they barely escaped with wins over Nor Cal and the Fog, winning 26-24 and 12-7, respectively. While the aforementioned teams struggle on the road, they put up a good fight at home.
Behind the leadership of Naima Reddick and Lisa Butts, who are fresh off the USA Eagles’ selection camp, Triple Threat should pose the biggest threat for the Mudhens’ third loss. They also see the Seattle side on Sunday, and so will have both home-field advantage and fresh legs.
We’re banking on Emerald City defeating the Fog on Saturday, and barring any injuries – especially to Ashley Kmiecik, who is the team’s most potent scoring threat – to battle out a tight victory over Nor Cal.
Cross-town rival Seattle will also be traveling to California, taking on Belmont Shore. Seattle has a good shot for the win.
Region-leading Chicago North Shore makes their biggest trip of the season and heads down to Austin for their fourth game of the season. No one should really contest North Shore all season, so expect the reigning champs to return to Illinois with the bonus-point victory.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, everyone challenges the Minnesota Valkyries. They’re still looking for their first win of the season, and it likely won’t come against Chicago on the road.
In CR3, the game to watch is Boston v Atlanta. The two lead the standings right now, but we expect the home team – the Harlequins – to win. Boston has bettered their previous two seasons combined in 2012, and their forwards’ ferocity in the breakdown will certainly cause problems for Atlanta. But Atlanta’s backline is one of the best in this business, and their loose forwards work seamlessly into the wide-open attack. The point differential shouldn’t be as vast as the previous three matches, but it should be double-digit.
Second-place NOVA is on the road to Albany and should win rather easily, and Philadelphia is favored to get the better of the Village Lions.
Stay tuned for the results as they occur.