Valks Break Scoring Drought, Win
Tuesday Sep 15, 2009 in Women Clubs
Heading into the second week of the Women’s Premier League, the Minnesota Valkyries was the only team that had yet to score a point. Twenty-eight seconds into its match against ORSU on Sunday, and that pressure was released.
Outside center Christy Ringgenberg’s opening-minute try broke the residual tension from last week’s shutout loss to Berkeley, and paved the way for a 33-12 win over the home team.
Valkyries coach Barb Fugate was satisfied with the team’s performance and saw improvements in two major weaknesses from last week: turnovers at the breakdown and the inability to finish offensive attacks.
“Our ball retention improved, thanks to the more consistent work rate from the players off the ball,” Fugate said. “It allowed us to establish the pace of our attack better.”
Ringgenberg credited the forwards with picking up the intensity at the breakdown, sucking in defenders and opening up wider channels for the backs to attack. “We ran aggressive, sharp angles against ORSU,” Ringgenberg said. “We also focused on playing with the ball in hand instead of kicking for territory, which we did too much of in the Berkeley game.”
And when ORSU tried to initiate a kicking game, Fugate pointed to fullback Dez Markovich, who effectively countered their efforts. She led the team with 11 points on a try and three conversions, while USA Bobsledder Tracy Call (2) and eightman Angie Heifort also touched down.
But there’s still a lot of work to do, according to Fugate. “ORSU has some very skilled players at the point of contact,” Fugate said, “so any time our support hesitated, they turned it over on us.”
“We haven’t put together a strong, full 80-minute game yet,” Eagle Ringgenberg added. “We experienced mental lapses on defense that opened up the opportunity for scores. Those kinds of breakdowns in focus will surely cause a team’s demise in this more intense league.”
ORSU did take advantage in the second half after the visitors built a 28-0 lead in the first 40 minutes. Eagle Ashley Kmiecik and San Juanita Moreno scored tries, while scrumhalf Ramey Marshall added the conversion.
Although there’s a bye week ahead, the Valkyries will scrimmage the University of Minnesota before facing cross-town rivals Twin Cities – always a heated match. ORSU will square up against Berkeley and continue to look for its first win in the WPL.
Minnesota – 33
Tries: Ringgenberg, Call (2), Markovich, Heifort
Conversions: Markovich (3)
ORSU – 12
Tries: Moreno, Kmiecik
- Jackie Finlan