Chula Vista, CA - The Midwest women had a difficult weekend. Due to some disorganization, the Thunderbirds traveled with only seven players, but that handicap didn't derail their positive attitude.
"We came up with a cheer," the Midwest's Jenny Lui said. "No crying, no quitting, go Midwest rugby!"
The team had a decent showing on day one, even though ended up 1-2. The Thunderbirds lost 19-10 to eventual finalist Pacific Coast and 15-7 to MARFU, before defeating Southern California.
"In the first couple of games, our defense wasn't that great," Lui said. "It was the first time that we had played together as a team - no practice or
tournaments. We used the first couple of games to work the kinks out, and we became more connected, more calm as the day went on."
But the Griffins had different plans during the Plate semifinals and took revenge with a 26-5 win, setting the Thunderbirds up for the 7th place match
against the South.
Pat Neder led a young South team, and Lui and teammates wanted to take advantage of that experience gap. "We just needed to play smart, patient rugby, keep the ball out of contact, and move the ball."
The Midwest pulled it together for one final game and managed a 17-0 win over the Panthers and finish with a 2-4 record.
"It was the sixth game of the weekend, and every player had played every single minute," Lui said. "Everyone busted their ass - sure, everyone was tired, but nobody quit. I am so proud of the team."
Lui credited coach Brendan Brown for stepping in as a late addition to the coaching staff, doubling as manager and water boy.
Although there was some disorganization, a bunch of young players got some experience and will hopefully fuel a full strength Thunderbird squad next year.