Written by Jackie Finlan    Tuesday, 11 October 2011 10:11    PDF Print Write e-mail
North Shore One Step From Elite 8
Clubs - Women's Clubs

Chicago North Shore defeated the Austin Valkyries 29-5 this weekend, and with that win, has nearly booked a seed to nationals. It’s been an incredible turnaround season for last year’s third-place team in the nation, which started this season with losses against Chicago and Glendale. Since then, North Shore is 3-0 with wins against Denver Black Ice, Detroit and Austin.

North Shore stayed on the front foot against Austin this weekend. (Dan Stearns photo)

CR2 has three seeds to the Elite 8, and Glendale is heading to Texas as #1 in the region. There are three teams at 3-2 vying for those final two seeds: Austin (15 pts), Detroit (15 pts) and North Shore (14 pts). This weekend is the final round of league play, and sees Austin traveling to Detroit, and North Shore heading to St. Louis (1-4). North Shore should win their game against St. Louis, likely with a bonus point, which would give them 19 points. Whoever wins the Austin v Detroit game will end up with at least 19 points (unless of course there’s a tie) and head to nationals. Bonus points and points differential will determine order of seeds.

So this weekend was a make-or-break situation for North Shore, and they responded well to the pressure.

“We knew this game was going to be a challenge because Austin is a tough team with a big, strong pack,” North Shore’s Jenny Lui said. “So our plan was to play a little wider, which worked well for us.”

The first quarter was pretty even, as the forward pack hammered away at each other and punched around the fringe. In the 18th minute, North Shore moved the ball wide to fullback Teena Mastrangelo, who worked the defense with wing Alyssa Green and eventually scored.

At the end of the half, Green made good on a linebreak, cut in on Austin’s fullback and scored in the middle. Jacki Gloss converted the try for the 12-0 lead at the break.

North Shore was by no means complacent heading into the second stanza, knowing full well that this game was just as important to Austin. Early on, North Shore put together a good-looking scrum near Austin’s tryline, and No. 8 Kate Daley was able to skirt across the try line for the 17-0 lead.

During the next five minutes, Austin worked their way downfield, and after a series of scrums, No. 8 Rachel Kraft picked from the base and scored, 17-5.

The bonus-point try occurred in minute 61, when Pam Kosanke launched a 15-meter pass to Mastrangelo in space. She took the ball the final 20 meters for the score in the corner. Fifteen minutes later, the North Shore forwards set up some nice quick-ball phases that eventually opened up some space for center Gloss, who raced to the try line and was tackled into the posts, knocking them over, but getting the try, 29-5.

“It was a good team win,” Lui said. “We're coming together nicely and feeling pretty good, but we're not satisfied yet. We need to continue to work on different combinations, improving our team play, and playing a complete game of rugby.”

North Shore will have one more game to finetune, and then it’s off to Austin for the Elite 8.

Saturday, Oct. 15
Detroit v Austin
Denver Black Ice v Chicago
Chicago North Shore v St. Louis

Women DI CR 2 Standings

W L T Pf Pa Pd BT BL Pts
Glendale 6 0 0 344 32 312 6 0 30
Austin 3 2 0 177 76 101 3 0 15
Detroit 3 2 0 146 86 60 2 1 15
Chicago North Shore 3 2 0 141 62 79 2 0 14
Chicago 2 3 0 57 90 -33 1 0 9
St. Louis* 1 4 0 34 265 -231 1 0 5
Black Ice 0 5 0 5 293 -288 0 0 0