The Furies Division II side hosted local rivals Nova 2 at Heurich Park this past Saturday with the stands full of blue and gold support for the fall season closer. Both clubs field two competitive 15s sides, boast strong 7s programs, and are used to battling each other for rank in the Mid-Atlantic Conference. Ready to prove the strength and depth of their inaugural Division II program, and build on the momentum of the WPL side’s win again New York the week before, the Furies came out strong and did not let up until the last whistle blew.
An early penalty against the home team could not rattle the Furies composure as co-captain Tomar “Town” Brown (2) poached the ball and got it out to Christina Animashaun (14) to put the first points on the board only 3 minutes after kick-off. A five meter scrum following a held-up try gave the Furies a chance to show off strong connections between the forwards and backs. As the pack drove over the ball, scrumhalf and captain Suzanne Haggerty got it out quick to Wei Wei Wu (13), who put the Furies up 2 tries to nil with lots of rugby left to play.
As the half wore on both teams faced penalties, and the Furies went down to 14 on the field as a high tackle sent one of their own to the sin bin. Cool heads prevailed and the Furies continued their efficient and dynamic pattern of play, dominating possession for the rest of the first half with strong runs from players in the pack and the back line. Tries by Sonia Steckler (7), Tess Thorman (10) and Wei Wei Wu, accompanied by consistent conversions from Suzanne put the Furies up 33-0 at the end of the first forty minutes.
The forwards barreled down on Nova on the kick off, and the Furies continued the second half with the same intensity as the first. Even after the ref issued a second yellow card for high tackling, the Furies re-grouped, stealing Nova’s scrums and keeping the Piranhas on their heels. Anna Savage (6) found holes in the purple defense twice to expand the lead as the coaches subbed in fresh legs from the Furies’ deep roster.
Exploiting penalties late in the half and finding a hole in the Furies defense, Nova prevented a shutout by hammering in across the line out wide. The Furies answered right back with tries from Tess, Suzanne, and an impressive connection from Christina and Elske Tielens (15). The day ended with the Furies up 66-5, securing the third place position in the Mid-Atlantic South conference. For her leadership and communication, Tess was named Player of the Match by her teammates on the pitch, while the seemingly unstoppable combination of “Elske-tina” took the Fan Favorite prize.
Finishing the season 2-2 with a make-up game on the horizon, the Furies are proud of the name they have made for themselves in this new division of competitive play. They are grateful to the strong support all season from fans, teammates, and the entire Furies’ coaching staff, especially D2 coaches Phooey and Candace. Competition for the D2 side will resume in the spring, but in the mean time they are gearing up to cheer the WPL side on to victory this weekend as they battle it out for 5th place in the nation.
Match report by Tara Dunderdale. Photos by Jill WIlliamson.