Written by the referee: Freitas, Larry
Drove down Highway 1 to Fort Ord on a blustery and cool Saturday for a match of these D2 women squads, the Otters of Monterey Bay and the Dons of San Francisco. Indicative of the recent weather was the fact that I could see snow on the higher peaks of the Santa Lucia Mountains as I headed south. CSUMB hadn’t played a game on their home turf since early November, and their only win of the season so far was way back in early October against USF in The City. USF had brought down exactly 15 players, and CSUMB had their starting 15 plus another 5 on the touchlines, the most they’ve had dressed out for a match, and something to note as two other players from the past two or three seasons were in street clothes.
The game started under sunny skies that would eventually turn grey, and for about the first ten minutes both teams seemed not able to function, making passing and handling errors, meaning numerous scrums that were uncontested. Finally, USF scored at 20 minutes from a lineout in CSUMB’s quarter, when Catroina Clohessy, inside center, took a pass from the flyhalf and found a nice gap to run through. The conversion failed. CSUMB’s Jannicke Stien scored a try from some loose play in the USF half of the pitch five minutes later, the ball placed near to the posts for an easy conversion made by herself. Stien had switched to playing inside center, a position better suited for her speed and handling ability than flanker or #8. Another five minutes of play saw Sydney Abel score a try for five more points. Abel was all over the pitch at breakdowns, and instigating counter rucks for turnovers at times, and smuggling ball away from CSUMB’s ball carrier’s, whether in a stand-up tackle in a maul or on the ground at the tackle. The half would end with a penalty given against USF for an offside infringement as one back was standing in defense well past the hindmost foot at a ruck, and playing advantage two of their players collided in a tackle attempt, the scrum-half getting a head knock that would take her out of the match, leaving them with 14 for the second half. CSUMB choose to kick a goal, as the attempt was some 25 meters out, but Stien’s kick was short of the posts, and USF’s attempt to run out of their own end failed with a knock from which CSUMB did not accrue an advantage, ending the first half of play with a 10-7 lead for the visitors.
CSUMB scored an unconverted try from loose play within a few minutes of play to open the second half, this time fullback Golden Sekai doing the honors. At this point in the match passes were finding hands, and play was more fluid overall, and at 52 minutes USF would score what I would have said was the try of the match, as a ball that was turned over at halfway gave some USF’s backs a chance to break away, with Clohessy taking a pass from wing Sapphire Dedrick some twenty meters out to scamper into the in-goal and round her way past the last defender to place the ball right under the posts. The conversion was good and USF had a 17-12 lead. It didn’t last long, as Stien would score another try as the game was near three quarters gone, this time taking a ball from a ruck just a few meters out from USF’s goal line. CSUMB started to use their one player advantage, putting pressure on USF and keeping possession of the ball for longer phases of play. CSUMB would then lose Clohessy with an injury, taking their numbers down to 13. Five minutes before time scrum half Alyson Carpenter would score an unconverted try near the left-hand corner. A few minutes later Terree Okabe, one of CSUMB’s veteran players, would score from loose play deep in USF’s quarter, dragging a few USF players with her over the goal line. I checked to make sure the ball had been grounded and not held up off the ground, and awarded the try. CSUMB had scored three tries and added 15 points in 18 minutes of play. With no time left USF would add 5 more points and score another try by Sydney Abel, after some great efforts by the Lady Dons to keep the ball alive and drive downfield against a tiring Lady Otter side. Final score: CSUMB 27, USF 24.
After walking off the pitch and taking a seat at halfway, and cooling off from the match, I noticed how cold it felt, getting into my sweats and bundling up. I’m heading to the UK for a good part of March and thought to myself that the day’s weather had a UK feel to it. So my next match should be a U-16 game at Bredon Rugby Club in the West Midlands, and then on March 12 a women’s club side match, Paignton the home side versus Exonian Ladies in South Devon.
CSUMB will next be taking a road trip in early April to play in a tournament up in Oregon, though some of their players expressed a desire to play St. Mary’s and make up the canceled game from a week prior. Having seen them play quite often these last two seasons, I see a lot of improvement on their side, and next season they should have one of their best backline players back from spending a year studying in Spain. USF hasn’t had as good a season as last, as they beat CSUMB twice, and as with Santa Clara, seems to be lacking in players overall with little depth to their roster. I have to say they certainly played with a lot of effort, and they have some players with talent, especially Clohessy and Abel.
|12:00 pm||West Coast Collegiate Women's Division II||2016-2017||02/25/17|
|University of San Francisco||24|