November 23, 2010
The women's side won the NRU Championship this past weekend and will be going onto Nationals again this year. This year the format of the National tournament had changed with USA Rugby formally recognizing DII women's rugby and all seven territories now sending a team. As a result, only one seed from the Northeast would advance, not the usual two. It was win or go home: We had finished the regular season 4-1 with our only lost coming against (final score: 30-15). As a result, Portland had the #1 seed and Albany was #2. This meant we would face the #1 seed from Met NY, Monmouth.
Our semi-final started out with both teams playing strong, Monmouth was especially tough at the breakdowns. Albany settled into the game quickly however and spent most of the first ten minutes in Monmouth's half. 13 minutes later and our hard efforts paid off with Ruth Robertson running in for a try and JoAnne Kos converting. The next 20 minutes of the match was much of the same with Albany applying steady pressure inside the Monmouth 22- the consistent effort was rewarded with a penalty kick and an unconverted try, both by JoAnne Kos. The last 5 minutes of the half saw Monmouth threatening to score as they parked themselves in front of the Albany try-line, but the girls put in a great defensive effort. Score at half would be 15-0 Albany.
Second half was almost a repeat of the first with steady pressure in the opening minutes paying off with a try and conversion (both by JoAnne Kos). Most of the half would see neither team able to score. Willow Eyers put the proverbial nail in the Monmouth's coffin at the 30 minute mark with a long run down the touch-line, JoAnne Kos converted and the score would remain 29-0 until the final whistle.
November 24, 2010
Sunday saw the girls tired and sore from their semi-final game but eager to avenge their regular season loss to Portland. Both teams took the field confident that they would win and first half was indicative of that- neither team would score a try and although Albany worked incredibly hard in front of the Portland try-zone, their efforts amounted to two converted penalty kicks (JoAnne Kos). Score was 6-0 at the half, meaning just one converted try would put Portland in the lead in what was turning out to be a great defensive battle. Albany hit the second-half hard, determined not to let a close game get away from them. Within a minute JoAnne Kos ran in from about 15 meters out to give the team a little breathing room. Ten minutes later and Willow Eyers get her second try of the tournament and score was 16-0 with about 30 minutes left in the match. (In our regular season match, Portland scored 3 tries on us in half that time so a 16-0 lead was anything but comfortable). True to form, Portland came charging back pressuring consistently in our 22, the pressure worked and we let in an unconverted try. Score was 16-5 with 20 minutes left in the match. Rest of the game was back and forth, played mostly between the 22's. (The forwards particularly hated one sequence where the backs traded kicks for about 6 phases in a row). With 7 minutes left in the match Ruth Robertson had a long break-away in which she out-ran all of the Portland defenders, to make the score 21-5. The score would hold and the match ended with the team exhausted but happy that they were back-to-back NRU Champions and would be headed to Arizona as the #3 seed in the country.
October 2, 2010
Portland 30- Albany 15
First week in October saw Albany on the road again to take on their toughest opponent of the season. Two seasons ago, Portland had ended Albany's play-off hopes and Albany returned the favor by ending Portland's play-off chances with a last minute victory last year. The game was going to be close and hard-fought and the outcome was anything but certain for either club. The billing proved to be true- it was an exciting match to watch with the lead changing 6 times over the course of the day. Portland got on the board with first with a penalty kick at the 6 min mark. 12 minutes later Albany got on the board with a try by Lauren Sirkin, 5-3 Albany. At the 24 min mark Portland got their first try, 8-5 Portland. In injury time just before the half, JoAnne Kos scored and converted her own try to give Albany the lead again, 12-5. Second half saw Portland score in the first couple of minutes to go up by one, 13-12. 10 minutes later Albany capitalized on a penalty in front of the Portland posts to take what turned out to be their last lead of the match, 15-13. Shortly after that, Albany had a huge 10 minute lapse in defense that saw Portland run three tries thru their defenses. Last seven minutes of the game saw Albany re-double their defensive efforts but the damage was done and the final score was 30-15. Not the outcome hoped for but a chance for the club to re-focus and adjust as they headed into their last regular season match. Scoring summary: JoAnne Kos 1 try, 1 conversion, 1 penalty kick; Lauren Sirkin 1 try A-side MVP: Mary Pezzulo (for her high work-rate at the breakdowns, hard runs and composure at prop) B-side MVP: Caitlin Casey (for some excellent runs on the wing and her spirited play)
Albany's competitive DII women's rugby club.