The South women’s All-Stars defeated the West Coast Warriors Friday 35-5 to get to the Tier II final at the Women’s Senior National All-Star Championships in Chula Vista, Calif.
It was somewhat expected that the team that had been training and working together would win, but the Warriors had on their roster several accomplished and very experienced players, who were hoping to throw the South out of their comfort zone.
For a while it worked. The South looked a little frantic and unpolished early.
“We wanted to work the phases,” said South assistant coach Jason Payne. “But it was a bit chaotic.”
Under Head Coach Patty Jervey, the South has been building toward better performances at the NASC. But they needed to settle down in order to accomplish that.
“Jason is right, that first half was just chaos,” said Jervey, the USA’s leading all-time scorer. “Some of the decisions were not anything we had rehearsed. What we wanted to do was maintain possession, work the phases, create overloads, and be patient.”
At halftime the Panthers were reminded of their task and responded well. Prop Liz Carrier, center Corey Fredericks, and Hilari French at No. 8 all stepped up their game in the second half to lead the South to victory.
“In the South we’ve been in the lower tier for a while,” explained Jervey. “But the last three years we’ve had the same coaching staff and The goal for us has been to get people in our region more interested in trying out for the team, and developing players. This year is a mixture of experienced players and new players. We have 12 on our squad who are rookies, so we are definitely developing.”
Jervey said the West Coast roster was known to the players and they were not there just to make up the numbers.
“We knew that this was not a second side; they had some very good players,” Jervey said. “We knew we’d have a competitive match, and the kids were up for it. We’ve had two camps and a tournament, and we feel part of our task as coaches is to get them ready. But they were up for it; it didn’t matter who were played today.”
As it was, Jervey said it didn’t feel like a 35-5 win.
“I went over to look at the scoresheet and I was surprised to find out how many tries we’d scored,” she said. “We definitely didn’t feel like we were on offense that much.”
The South now plays Mid-Atlantic Sunday in the Tier II final, with the winners qualifying for Tier I next year.
Jervey wants to see better support running and fewer penalties.
“In the first half we got penalized quite a bit for holding on,” she said. “I think was that because the pace of the game is higher, and we needed faster support to the breakdown. If we get that, make that adjustment, maintain possession, and are more trusting of our teammates, we will be OK.”