Beantown (1-1) buckled down on defense and allowed the offense to run in nine tries against the DC Furies (1-1) to win 57-0 in Boston. The victory propelled Beantown into second place of the Women’s Premier League Blue Conference.
Beantown suffered a 38-14 loss to Twin Cities the weekend prior, but hit the practice pitch with renewed energy in preparation for week two.
“We’ve tried to focus on our defense a lot,” Beantown coach Richard Ashfield said. “During pre-season, it was all about getting organized on defense and being aggressive, but we fell off against the Amazons. That game was a wake-up call. Last week, we refocused and simplified things back to basics. I’m really happy with how they bounced back.”
DC has a big pack and exerted the most pressure around the fringes. The Beantown defense answered the call and did a good job smothering attacking attempts around the breakdown. DC Furies' No. 8 was particularly potent off the back of the scrum, but the forwards worked hard to disrupt any flashes continuity.
In the backs, recent Radcliffe grad Evan Hoese enjoyed several linebreaks from inside center and did well to link up with support to keep the ball moving. Hoese scored the first try of the game and set the tone for the flurry of five-pointers that followed.
Ashfield was impressed by a number of young players – like prop Liz Fierman and fullback Katie O’Malley, who both scored – as they continue to grow by leaps and bounds in their second WPL seasons. Jackie Rompre, who got the start due to the absence of Amy Daniels and Ali Pappas at the USA 7s camp, filled in nicely and scored a five-pointer as well.
“It was definitely a challenge, and we had to rejigger the lineup a bit,” Ashfield said of missing personnel, “but it’s good to have that depth. We haven’t had that kind of depth in the backs for a while; it’s reassuring.”
The forwards lit up the scoreboard as well. Irreplaceable veterans loose forward Mel Denham and front row Mari Wallace led by example and accounted for three of Beantown’s nine tries (Denham had two). Emily Jones and O’Malley slotted three conversions apiece.
But there’s still plenty of work left for the training pitch. Despite the big win, Ashfield noted a 20-25-minute lull when the team lost some focus, got a little loose with ball, or tried to score off first phase. The squad will use the upcoming bye week to physically recover, work on technical aspects, but also support the club’s D2 side for their upcoming match against Hartford on Saturday.
Like last year, Beantown fields a D2 team that competes in NERFU; although this year, they’ll be eligible for playoffs, unlike 2011.
“It’s really great to have the numbers for a D2 side,” Ashfield said of the 50 players who make twice-per-week training. “Young college girls come in, get familiar with the environment, and learn what it takes to play at the WPL or national level. It’s perfect for players like Katie Mathews out of Bowdoin. We’re projecting her to be a WPL player, but for now she’s getting comfortable in D2, where there’s less pressure but still competitive.”
There aren’t many B side games in the WPL, so the D2 team is incredibly important for club sustainability.
“We’re very fortunate to have a D2 side,” Ashfield added, “because who would show up to training twice a week if they weren’t going to play on Saturday? The lack of B sides in the WPL would be an issue if we didn’t have our D2 side.”
When the WPL resumes competition, Beantown will take on Keystone, while the Twin Cities Amazons face the DC Furies.