All Blues Defeat Glendale and Move to Finals Against the Amazons

The semi-finals match up saw a repeat match against the reigning champions the Berkeley All Blues and the 2012 #2 Glendale Raptors. The Raptors were a favorite to win the match, but the All Blues had different plans, scoring their first try within the first minute of the game. 

Glendale player Hannah Stolba responded with a try of her own, breaking through a gap in the Berkeley defensive line. The score then stood at 7-5, but that was the only time that Glendale had the lead for the remainder of the game. Standout players were Jenn Sever, who scored 3 tries in her debut at WPL National Championships, and Tina Nesberg, who was responsible for the majority of turnovers from Glendale. The final score was 27-10.

The victory propels the previously ranked #3 All Blues to the #2 spot to face the Twin Cities Amazons in the championship. The match is expected to be physical and tightly contested. The game begins at 3pm EST on Sunday, November 10th, at South Jersey Rugby Pitch in Cherry Hill, NJ. It will be livestreamed on usarugbytv.com, and live tweeted on @AllBluesRugby

Match Report: Berkeley All Blues @ Minnesota Amazons

From scrumhalfconnection.com:

 

Only a month away from nationals, WPL teams played their first match in the second half of the season this weekend. The Twin Cities Amazons went into the weekend like every other team in the league, looking to play well and gain momentum and a stronger footing within the conference. Although the Zons have fared well so far this season, they had yet to put together a full 80 of great rugby. While on the road against Berkeley the Zons held on to a close match, and historically the All Blues had yet to lose to the same team twice in one season since entering the WPL.

Needless to say, this match was not going to be easy for either team. Weather also played a factor for the match, with rain in the forecast and cooler temperatures expected. Sun was out for warm-ups, but was slowly replaced by overcast and light rain for the remainder of the match.

The Amazons kicked off to start the match, quickly getting possession and opening up scoring for the match with a forward try by Zarembinski just 4 minutes in. The try was converted by Radtke, Zons up 7-0. Momentum was in favor of the Orange and Blue for the stanza of play, with tries by Bridges and Braaten and another conversion to bring the score to 19-0 at the 9 minute mark. Amazons controlled possession until the All Blues got into firing range and Bryson made a penalty kick, score was then 19-3. The All Blue continue to fight on using force to disrupt contact points and create turnover ball, but penalties from both sides led to another pick for points, this time made by Radtke, 22-3 Zons at the 26 minute mark. Off of the kick-off return the Zons created some space with a grubber kick touched down by scrumhalf Lentsch. This ended the half 27-3 Amazons up.

All Blues came out firing in the second half, creating a turnover off of their kick-off and forward play into the try zone. Chou touched it down within the first 5 minutes. Forward play was the name of the game for the next section of the match, lots of turnovers and loose ball led to a very scrum heavy second half. The Amazons were the first to get it out to the back line and it paid off with a try from fullback Vonada, score now 32-8. More scrumming and back and forth play lead the All Blues into the Amazon red zone, but Braaten got out front with a great kick to bring the Zons back into scoring range, then got the ball again to the try zone which was converted by Radtke. The Zons ended the half with another try by Johnson, also converted by Radtke. Final score 46-8.

All Blues Fall in a Close Home Opener against Minnesota Amazons

The home opener for the Berkeley All Blues brought the Minnesota Amazons, riding high off of a 62-0 thrashing of the San Diego Surfers, to the other undefeated team of the Red conference. Both teams were hungry to knock the other off and take the #1 spot early in league play.

Within the first minutes of kickoff, it became clear that the word of the day was physicality. While the Amazons controlled possession for most of the first half, the All Blues defense kept them away from the try line, and held them to one kick.  That was, until an attempted kick by Amazon Rebecca Radke bounced off the right post, right into the hands of Amanda Kingzett, who leapt over for a try, bringing the score to 0-10, Minnesota.

The All Blues immediately responded with a huge run from Lucy Croy, who offloaded to forwards, where it was eventually brought in to the try zone by Phoebe Boone. Both teams scored once more prior to the end of the first half, bringing the half time score to 14-17. The All Blues try was scored by Blair Groefsema, playing at #8.

When play resumed, the match remained just as physical but position traded back and forth between the two teams throughout the remaining minutes. Both teams scored again, but the Amazons didn't nab their conversion, bringing the All Blues to within one point with about 7 minutes to go. The All Blues try was made by Phoebe Boone. While the All Blues kept possession for most of the remaining minutes of the game, they were unable to bring it to the try zone and take the lead. A lineout steal brought the ball back to Amazon possession, who retained it until the clock ran out and they were able to kick it into touch. The final score was 22-21, Amazons.

When asked about the loss, head coach Adriaan Ferris stated that he was naturally disappointed with the loss but added that he was happy with a lot of aspects of the game. "Our defensive line speed was superb. After 34 minutes in the first half, after the position that the Amazons had, to only be down 3-nil was a huge indication to the way the girls played defensively."

"We're introducing new systems, and new players into those systems. By the time Nationals comes around, we'll be very well prepared, and we're going to use the next weeks to start chipping away at some of the details." 

The All Blues head into a bye week to prepare for a home match against the San Diego Surfers on 9/28 at 10am at St. Mary's College.  After the match, the Berkeley All Blues development side will play at 12pm.