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Triple-Digit Trouble for Amazons

Monday Sep 14, 2009 in Women Clubs

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When scores like 100-7 are posted, it’s easy to think one team’s playing in the wrong division. The Berkeley All Blues ran in 16 tries to the Twin Cities Amazons’ one last Sunday, marking the second week of Women’s Premier League play.

Zons coach Roger Bruggemeyer couldn’t offer much in the way of explanations, but said, “this is part of the whole deal, playing these harder teams.”

The Amazons played a tough first 15 minutes, and were only down 13-7 thanks to a Sylvia Braaten try and conversion. But the visitor’s suffered two major injuries that sent lock Anna Brown and center Lynelle Kugler off the field. Bruggemeyer was forced to replace veterans with less experienced players, and “the game got out of control,” the Twin Cities coach said.

“I’m not saying the outcome would have been any different,” he said of Brown’s and Kugler’s absences, “but the score would have been.” (Kugler should be ready for the Zons’ next match, while the jury’s still out on Brown’s rib injury.)

“The Amazons are such a physical and aggressive team,” All Blues backs captain Stephanie Bruce said, “so the first half of the game was a dog fight. They were pressuring us a lot, so we didn't realize we were dominating until fairly late in the game.”

“Scrumhalf Jossy Tseng and inside center Ruth Bryson did a great job initiating our attack,” Bruce continued, “and our wings Nathalie [Marchino] and Elaine [Gardner] had some great individual runs.”

Bruce led point scorers with 22 on two tries and six conversions, and wings Marchino and Gardner each recorded hat tricks. Twelve of the 16 tries were credited to the backs, while forwards Phoebe Boone (2), Blair Groefsema and Eagle hooker Lisa Butts accounted for four.

Bruggemeyer was reluctant to name any standout players on his squad, but admired the never-give-up spirit of Rebecca Radtke, Jenny Kruger and Braaten.

“We’ll see how the players respond,” Bruggemeyer said after the match, “but you always feel bad after a loss – whether it’s by two points or 93.”

He’s mildly concerned that his young team might overreact to the loss, the same way they might overreact to a huge win. He’s also got to be concerned with attrition, which has already been set in motion due to the travel requirements of the WPL.

“If we had joined the premier league two years ago, we would have been great,” Bruggemeyer explained, “but now our young players are learning under fire. Talk to me in two weeks, but I’m sure they’ll be fine. It’s a hard learning experience, but hopefully those first 15 minutes showed them that when they stick to what they know, they can compete with the best of them.”

After the bye week, the Amazons face cross-town rival Minnesota Valkyries, who are also 1-1, having beat ORSU 33-12. Berkeley will travel to ORSU.


Berkeley 100

Tries: Marchino (3), Gardner (3), Bruce (2), Boone (2), Groefsema, Griffin, Butts, Folayan, English, Bryson.

Conversions: Bruce (6), Bryson (4).


Twin Cities 7

Tries: Braaten

Conversions: Braaten

- Jackie Finlan

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