Friday, September 12, 2014

WGR Week 1 Conference Results

pictured:  "The New Bruisers"

Thursday Sept 11th
Kettle Moraine defeated by Catholic Memorial

Catholic Memorial shut out the Knightmares in the conference opener on an unusually chilly afternoon out at Delafield's Naga Waukee Park. While junior Lizzie Walicki and freshman Allison Koenig led the way with multiple try performances for the Crusaders, it was Sophomore Christie Hill and senior Lizzy Jacobson who led  the defensive efforts that set the tone for the victory.  Their energy and communication stood out.  As a result, KM struggled to keep possession, although when they had some, they found some success.
     Kettle senior Courtney Crouse was the Knightmare player of the match.  She stole several balls, broke some tackles, and was a constant spark.   Kettle Moraine freshman Sommer Arndt is another Knightmare to watch.  In her first conference match, her athleticism and tackling were a big plus for KM. 

Saturday Sept 13th
Brookfield 68 v Appleton 10   2pm Dretzka unofficial score.

New seems to be the key word for this match.  New players, new coaches, new attitude, new team.  As expected, senior Reina Anderson was a serious scoring threat for the Bruisers, but the Bruisers also added 13 new recruits into the mix.  Eight of the rookies scored tries in their debut match.   Brookfield's new coaching staff of Head Coach Neil Grintjes, Rob Young (Uni of Minn), Carly Amy, and Carly Rosenthal began their campaign in fine fashion.  After only graduating 3 Seniors last year, Brookfield seems to be coming together after some coaching transitions in the recent past.    Even without seniors Emily Winter and Destiny Dallas due to the ACT test, the team flourished with new center freshmen Aryanna Primer (3 trys) and Reina Anderson (4 trys).  The team move the ball strong among the forward pack led by junior Cpt. Raquel Galarza and senior Miranda Bradford.  Galarza completed 4 extra point conversions.  

DSHA over Oak Creek    
The Dashers dominated the Knights although Coach Klein noted that Oak Creek made significant improvements in just a week's time.  DSHA Senior Claire Schmidt put on a special performance, with several tries and dangerous runs, shifting from the backline to the pack as the match went on.  Her rare combination of strength and speed caused problems all game long for the defense.  Senior Kendyl Braun had one of her best games in the red jersey.  A strong, tall fullback, she proved difficult to handle in space.  Forward Amanda Ezzell proved an asset to the Dasher's efforts and was one of the noteable forwards on the day.
     For the Knights, sophomore Megan Bird was valiant snuffing out numerous DS breaks.  Her speed and toughness were clear for all to see.  Oak Creek rookie, junior Abby Larson, made a strong debut with strong tackling.

DS jv 30 v Vernon 5            430pm
     Vernon was much improved over last spring and they came out hard, scoring a try early and held a tense 5 to 0 lead late into the first half, before the Dashers punched in two quick tries to lead 10 to 5 at the break.  Sophomore flyhalf Danielle Macpherson, the younger sister of varsity flyhalf Kat Macpherson, was one of the standout players of the match.  She showed why her potential is held in such regard by her coaching staff amd we expect we will be seeing more of her in the future.  Forward Lexi Muszytowski at tighthead prop played an outstanding match and was a big part of the younger Dasher side stopping the forward bashes that are a big part of Vernon's style of play.
     WGR staff are still waiting on a report from Vernon's staff.

Sunday Sept 14th
Muskego 0  v Fond Du Lac 68
     The Fond Du Lac Sirens came away with an impressive road win in their conference debut under Head Coach Amanda Pohle.  Try scorers included Lexi Engelhardt, Kristina Moul (3), Brittany Witty (2), Elizabeth Stanchfield, Maggie Kelly, and Erin Driscoll.  Both of Witty's tries came from running great lines of support off her teammates. 
     Maybe the most noteable part of the match was Maggie Kelly's goalkicking.  She hit an incredible 9 out of 10 conversions and to quote Coach Pohle, "her kicks were HUGE."  Kristina Moul's defensive work was also noted by coaches as impressive.

Conference Standings
Classic Five
Catholic Memorial    1-0   (2-0 overall)
DS jv                         1-0   (2-0 overall)
Muskego                   0-0   (0-2 overall)
Kettle Moraine          0-1   (0-2 overall)
Vernon                      0-1    (0-1)

North-South Conference
DSHA                       1-0  (2-0 overall)
Brookfield                 1-0
Oak Creek                 0-1  (0-2 overall)
Appleton                    0-1
Fond Du Lac              0-0  (1-0 overall)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Conference Openers

The Wisconsin Girls Rugby conference openers kickoff this coming week.

In the Classic Five Conference, Catholic Memorial opens against Kettle Moraine.  This is a huge, early game for both teams.   The winner will be in a strong position to go on to win the conference and a place in the playoffs opposite DSHA, which is the more coveted slot. KM seniors Libby Shubert, Lindsay Hillmer, and Courtney Crouse give the Knightmares a strong core.  If exciting young talents like sophomore back Grace Abler and sophomore #8 Mariah Koenigs continue to develop, they have the makings of an outstanding team.

In the other C5 match, Muskego hosts Fond Du Lac on Sunday at 1pm at Bluhm Park.  Muskego might have a slight edge in this one, being at home and after having gotten a game in the week before to work out some things.  Still, Fond Du Lac had a nice spring season and are an unknown quantity heading into this one. 

In the North South Conference, all the matches will be played at Dretzka Park.  DSHA's athletic pack will be tough for anyone to handle.  Players like Aoife Hanley, typify a tough, skilled pack that will challenge teams at the breakdown.

Brookfield debuts against Appleton in what is our game of the week.  Brookfield is known for recruiting heavily and bringing new girls into the game from places like Whitnall, Tosa, and Greendale; while Appleton has a season under their belts including some summer 7's, along with experienced coaches.  It's an exciting matchup of two athletic teams.  There could be a lot of points in this one.  One of Brookfield's standout athletes, senior Emily Winter is not currently listed on their roster, and coaches will be looking to see how Brookfield's roster takes shape.

Thursday Sept 11th
Kettle Moraine v Catholic Memorial  430pm  Naga-Wauke Park

Saturday Sept 13th
Brookfield v Appleton  2pm       Dretzka Park   GAME OF THE WEEK
DSHA v Oak Creek      3:15pm  Dretzka Park
DS jv v Vernon             4:30pm  Dretzka Park

Sunday Sept 14th
Muskego v Fond Du Lac  1pm    Bluhm Park, Muskego (non-conference matchup)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

WGR Pre-Season Opener

On a beautiful, sunny and cool Saturday Wisconsin Girls Rugby kicked off it's pre-season matches at Oak Creek High School on Milwaukee's southside.

The opening match saw Catholic Memorial run in several tries on an inexperienced Oak Creek side.  Oak Creek's Megan Bird withdrew during warmups with a minor injury and will look to make her debut next week.  Leading the way for the Crusaders were senior Lizzy Jacobson and junior Ellie Metz who both added three tries on the day.  Oak Creek flashed some exciting athleticism and had several impressive displays of ball handling in their new line.

In the second match of the day, DSHA faced old-rivals Kettle Moraine.  The Dashers put in several tries in the first half.   For the Dashers, Kat Macphearson, Maggie Brennan, and Taylor Bragg Brock were immense.  KM did get on the scoreboard in the first half with a long break from senior back Lindsay Hillmer.  Brought down a few meters from the line, senior Libby Schuebert ran a wonderful support line and was there to finish off the series with a short scoring plunge.  DSHA ran out their JV side for the second half and built on their experienced and depth.  DSHA's JV scrumhalf had several nice passes and runs.

The third match featured the DSHA JV and freshman sides against Muskego.  On the day, young Dashers Christina Keyser and Tara Sweeney put on especially noteworthy games.   The DSHA jv team looks like it will be a very strong outfit as they compete in the Classic Five Division.  The final score was 22 (DS) to 17 (Muskego).  Muskego's third try and kick came from senior hooker Jesse Beatka who scored her first try ever, and the kick was made by junior Samantha Scaffidi who played fly half. 

All the coaches left pleased with how smoothly the day ran, and many thanks have to go out to the Oak Creek families who hosted the event.  With all the traffic driving by the school on such a nice day and the football field filled for a band competition, it was also great exposure for our league down on the southside.  Plus, each team left the pitch healthy and ready to go for the conference openers next week.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Opening Weekend 2014

The WGR Girls season kicks off with a five-team round robin of pre-season scrimmages at Oak Creek High School Saturday.

10am  Oak Creek v Catholic Memorial

11:15am  Kettle Moraine v DSHA

12:30mpm  DSHA jv  v Muskego

The first match should be an interesting run-out for two teams who lost several talented leaders and athletes.   For Oak Creek, keep an eye out for sophomore Megan Bird.  A speedster with a fiery competitive spirit, if she gets into space unmarked she will be hard to keep from scoring.  After a freshman year of learning, she's poised to become a very strong player in the league.  For Catholic Memorial, a core of experience juniors who all started last year, gives them a strong starting point.  Senior Lizzy Jacobson should be integral to everything they do.

The second match sees the debut of the Knightmare's new coaching staff.  A talented group of seniors should help their program transition into a new era.  Senior Lindsay Hillmer, who played scrumhalf last year, is one of the most respected and talented young women in the league.   There's also Libby Shubert in the pack and several more.  They will have to lead from the front with the loss of senior Cassie Schultz to an ACL injury. 

DSHA, as widely reported, returns a team full of seniors, and a crew of new recruits as well.  One of the best midfielders to ever play for the Dashers, Maggie Brennan, returns, and has to be a candidate for league MVP.   Then there's Kat McPherson, who stepped into flyhalf last spring after injury to Beth Pokorny, to help lead DSHA to a memorable victory over Kent in the third place match at Nationals.   Look out for a lights out pack as well.  We'll highlight them more in our preview next week!

Muskego is coming off one of their more successful springs in years.  Recruiting and numbers were up.  They appear to have benefited from the 7's and 10's format last spring, to find some success. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wisconsin Tag Rugby Meeting

Wisconsin Tag Rugby's annual meeting will be held on  Wednesday, October 15th from 6-9pm at Menomonee Falls High School (W142 N8101 Merrimac Dr).  The general meeting will take place from 6-7:30pm in the Library, followed by a hands on ref/coaches training from 7:30-9pm in the New Gym.

WTR provides coed flag tournaments each summer for kids in grades 1-8.  New clubs, those considering starting a club, or those that would like to help out with an existing club are welcome to attend this meeting and help us grow the game!
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me at 414-550-4052 or at
Editor's Note:
The number of programs across Wisconsin continues to swell.  Word on the street is that there is some discussion coming about Fall Touch leagues and Middle School tackle rugby.  This past summer Waukesha Tag Rugby began the first middle school tackle program.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Women's World Cup 2014 Top Tries

Worth watching.  The women's teams were playing even more skilled rugby than in 2010.  With so much more television coverage, it was a great Cup.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Professionalism" in high school rugby

Some observations on youth rugby, in an informative interview with Danielle Miller, head coach of the Women's All-Americans.  The interviews come from Alex Goff's new publication, the "Goff Rugby Report" with a new focus on youth and high school. Check it out.

In response to Miller's observations, how professional is your team?  How professional are your coaches?  Do they plan drills, practices, and communicate?  Do you and your teammates take your sport seriously?  Do you show up to practice on time and prepared?  Do you eat right?  Do you take care of yourself and stay in shape in the off-season?  Rugby is fun, but only if you are healthy and in shape.  It's also safe if you are in shape and have learned the proper techniques by attending practice. 

Rugby is exploding across the country.  There are more and more competitive teams and programs cropping up.  Where does your team and its commitment stand in the changing landscape of the fastest growing women's sport in the world?