The Washington Women’s Rugby team went into the Pick 7s tournament this past weekend ready to bring the heat and score big. And they did.
The Furies won the tournament. In pool play, the Furies Premiere saw defeats over the Maryland Exiles and NOVA 2, beating both by 5 tries to none. Another handed win came in the semi-final against Philly.
NOVA 1 and the Furies met in the final, playing ten minute halves, and with DC prevailing 27-7.
The Furies scored first within the opening minutes, with a corner try by wing Sharifa Love-Schnur. The conversion was missed. NOVA struck back quickly, with Beth Black breaking through the line and dashing 20 meters to touch it down and converting their try. The Furies would score one more try in the half; again the ball went wide where Jaime Albarelli touched it down in the corner. With no time left in the half, the Furies had a penalty in their favor about 15 meters from the goal line. A continuous attack on the stalwart NOVA defense ran the clock well past the 10-minute mark, but another first-half try eluded the offense. Halftime score was 10-7 Furies.
Washington came into the second half with fire in their bellies. The Furies scored three tries- two by Jeanna Beard and another again by Albarelli, both of whom stood out in the game for their exceptional play. Jessica Shipley made the conversion. DC dominated in the second half, maintaining possession for more than 75% of the time.
This epic tournament win gives the Furies Premier 4 points towards MARFU playoffs, and left the team triumphant in executing the first win in several years against their toughest local opponent, NOVA. The team saw great improvement throughout the day. Co-captain Eli White says, “I was really happy that we were able to maintain our skill level and fitness through a very long, hard-fought final.”
This week the Furies will play at the Ruggerama tournament, where they will face many of the same hard-hitting competitors. White says, “We really benefit from getting to play such quality sides frequently through the summer, especially since other territories don’t have that opportunity for consistent high level matches.”
The Furies B-side started the tournament Saturday with name introductions. Only three players had experience playing with each other. By the end of the day it was impossible to determine which three players that was. Under the keen eye of Coach Dre Khoury the Furies B-side dominated a bigger and stronger Maryland Stinger team. Angela Cole had a stand out match at scrumhalf, controlling the pace of the game and successfully completing conversions. The Furies executed the game plan against a ridiculously stacked James River team that recruited Eagle players the day before. Clearly the reputation of the Furies B-side intimidated them. With their ringers, James River defeated the Furies, sending them to the semi-final rounds matched against the Stinger for the second time that day. This time the Stingers pressed the Furies defense with aggressive play and line breaks. The Furies responded with several hard-fought tries which propelled them into the championship match, again against James River. Stephanie “She-ra” Tietz inspired the team early on by racing 60 yards up the side line for the first try of the match. Coach Dre continued her wizardry rostering Kathy Lanier- whose first day of rugby was Saturday- at hooker. Kathy made two bone crushing tackles that were clearly inspired by the shorts she had borrowed from Coach Dre. Throughout the days match play Suzanne Haggerty’s blitzing speed and leadership was evident in all phases of play resulting in several tries and conversions. James River took the win over DC in both games of the, but the Developmental side still took home the 2nd place title.
While Coach Dre’s rugby shorts have more time on the rugby pitch that the entire Developmental team roster combined, the team work and Furies pride that was exhibited by the Furies has laid the foundation for a solid team that will continue to challenge teams in 2013 tournament play. Washington will show their spirit and determination again at Ruggerama, this weekend.
Match reports by Mesha Cichon and Eli White.