An interesting turn of events occurred in pool A of the girls’ High School Rugby Championship here in Philadelphia. The semifinal berths weren’t as clear cut as pool B, which sent Fallbrook and Doylestown to the playoffs, as several different scenarios could have sent any of the four teams to the final four as the third round of games unfolded.
Divine Savior had locked up the top seed by going 3-0 after defeating Wisconsin rival Catholic Memorial (1-2) 17-0 in this morning's match. Then it all came down to this evening’s final pool match between Hempfield, which was 1-1, and New York, which was 0-2. Hempfield had been more successful on Friday, but it was all New York inside PPL Park tonight.
Although New York suffered from some stalling sideways running, they found great go forward from Nilshayrin Perez, who showcased excellent speed around the corner and was able to overtake Hempfield’s defense. She scored two tries during the game, and was set up nicely by Corinne Heavner. Heavner was the true marshall on the field at flyhalf and worked extra hard to move the ball away from contact and get New York’s speedsters into space. The standoff handled the extras as well and scored a try of her own.
Hempfield did a better job of running north/south, and did a good job of offloading in contact, but their breakaways often went unsupported, and New York did a great job of stealing possession in the breakdown.
It was a fairly one-sided affair although Hempfield ended the game with a try to avoid the shutout.
That meant three teams ended with a 1-2 record and it all came down to point differential. Due to New York’s big losses on day one, they were eliminated from advancement. Hempfield defeated Catholic Memorial 10-7 on day one, but between the two, Catholic had the better PD at the end of the day and advanced.
It was quite the surprise for Catholic, which had thought its playoff hopes had been dashed with their morning loss to Divine Savior, but they’ll have the chance to keep their hopes alive when they play Fallbrook in tomorrow’s semifinal. Divine Savior will play Doylestown.