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Keystone Upset Shakes Up WPl East

Tuesday Sep 29, 2009 in Women Clubs

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(Keystone's effort is spearheaded by flyhalf Ines Rodriguez, Ian Muir photo)

The upset of the weekend in the Women’s Premier League occurred in Boston this past Sunday when Keystone pulled out a 15-13 win over Beantown in the WPL East division.

The Massachusetts team still leads the division on bonus points, but now Keystone and New York are even with the leaders at 2-1 for an interesting race.

“This win has given us some belief,” Keystone coach Pete Steinberg said. “The past couple of years we thought we’ve been a Final Four team, and looking at the team sheet, we look as good as any team out there. The only thing holding us back was the belief.”

The atrocious weather precipitated a messy, penalty-heavy match, and Keystone felt the sting of mishandlings early. Beantown flyhalf Kelly Seary sent some booming kicks to touch inside Keystone’s red zone. The subsequent lineouts set up two tries from forwards captain Sharon Blaney and flanker Kristin Bonomo within 10 minutes (10-0).

“Then we lost our focus and intensity,” said Seary. “Overall, we played an uninspired game that was lacking in communication, unity and discipline.”

Keystone used the early setback to buckle down and react to the ref – something Keystone didn’t do against its loss to New York – and flyhalf Ines Rodgriguez slotted a penalty for Beantown’s repeated off-sides infractions, 10-3.

Off the next drive, Keystone kept the pressure on and Rodriguez touched down a lovely individual try and conversion to tie it at 10.

Beantown notched their last points of the match minutes later with an Emily Jones penalty, 13-10 heading into the break.

“We knew going into the match that we’d have to meet Beantown’s scrums,” Steinberg said. “We stumbled a little bit in the beginning of the second half, but we matched them. We also focused on physicality in contact. With a young team starting four or five women who played in college last year, we’re still getting used to the physicality.”

Rachel Hammond put the Pennsylvania team up for good two minutes into the second half, barreling through for a try, 15-13.

The defensive contest continued as both teams struggled with offensive continuity. Ashfield tipped his hat to Keystone’s disruptive play around the breakdown and acknowledged his team’s lack of commitment to the breakdown.

Beantown had more clean line breaks than Keystone, but the visitors did a good job of cleaning them up.

That said, neither team was satisfied with their performances. “We were happy with our scrimmaging and kicking game,” Steinberg said, “but we had 20 or so handling errors and our lineouts still need work.”

And how is Ashfield going to fix the commitment issue with his squad? “We’re going to knock the crap out of each other at training.”

He’s hoping the loss, which he calls “a blessing in disguise,” will shake up the team.

Keystone squares up against the Furies Sunday while Beantown revisits New York for round two. Both teams won their first meeting with their upcoming opponents, though expect much tougher games this time around.

Keystone 15

Tries: Rodriguez, Hammond

Conversions: Rodriguez

Penalties: Rodriguez


Beantown 13

Tries: Blaney, Bonomo

Penalties: Jones

- Jackie Finlan

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