To an extent, Seattle and Detroit lucked out for the first round of the women’s DI club playoffs. They both finished second in their competitive regions, but since last year's finalist were both from CR2, Detroit got the second seed overall this year. One of these teams will advance to Sunday’s semifinal against the winner of Atlanta v Chicago. Meanwhile, teams like NOVA and ORSU, which are arguably better than both Seattle and Detroit, are facing off in the first round.
That said, teams have to take the opportunities given to them, and it’s unlikely that Seattle or Detroit will bemoan their situation tomorrow.
These two teams have little if any experience playing against each other, as 2012 marks Detroit’s first trip to DI nationals after reigning at the DII level for years. They’re most well known for their sizeable forwards and damaging scrums, but scrumhalf Michelle Wong does well to move the ball into the hands of able strikers like Alison Boff, Leslie Mitzell and Melissa Martinez.
Seattle took it on the chin during the beginning of the season, cramming four games into three weeks, but came out the other end with a solid 5-1 finish.
“It has been a tough road for us, but we have worked hard this season,” Seattle coach Evan Haigh said. “The CR1 teams have really raised their standards from last season. Teams like Triple Threat, Belmont and of course ORSU have really raised their level of play.”
Seattle won all of their league games save the showdown with ORSU. The Breakers held ORSU to within one try during the first half, but the CR1 champs pulled away in the second stanza for a 45-7 victory.
Like Detroit, Seattle doesn’t have one or two players who carry the team, and that’s the way they like it. USA scrumhalf Carrie White is the most recognizable of the bunch, and for good reason. She’s small and scrappy, and has a knack for finding open space.
Hannah Wadsworth has joined White as the major on-field leaders, while the back row combinations of Parisa Asgharzadeh, Margaret Lessman, Tia Doppenberg and Nic Munson have really taken the game to the opposition. Christina Zier has also been a nice addition to pack, especially in sharpening up the lineout, and the backs revolve around experienced players like White, Marty Quick and Jesenia Torres.
“Seattle Breakers’ style is to play calculated, effective rugby,” Haigh summarized his team’s game strategy. “We have been working hard on our ability to retain ball, so we can better use the space when it is presented to us. It has been a building process for us and one that we hope will take the team to next level.”
This quarterfinals should be a great match, and depth will surely be called upon when the victor must face, most likely, host Atlanta in Sunday’s semifinal.
Stay tuned for results and reports as they evolve.