CGRU Women Forge New Path at 2018 LVI
March 06, 2018
The 2018 Las Vegas Invitational served as an opportunity for the Carolinas to participate in new and challenging rugby that would stretch them to levels that some are not able to always experience in weekly matrix play. 13 brave women from clubs all across the Carolina’s accepted the challenge to compete in one of the largest 7’s tournaments in the nation and they indeed made a statement.
Thursday’s pool play started out with immense excitement and energy – CGRU received the opening kickoff in Game 1, delivered 2 clearing passes and sent Sam Black (Lejeune) up the touchline for 40 meters - 2 phases later and the Carolina’s were on the board. That pace would not relent for the remaining 13 minutes and the first match would end 31-5 in favor of the Carolina’s. The second match of the day saw the ladies falter slightly in their focus, and dropped a very close match against Rogue Samurai by less than 7 points. Shoutout to Stefania Evans (Bragg Women) for playing with Rogue Samurai and having a very successful tournament as well.
Motivated by their objective review of game 2’s loss, the women regrouped for their toughest opponent in the division, Lindenwood University. Both teams began Game 3 with aggressive defending and a desire to play up-tempo 7’s rugby. Lindenwood capitalized on a few gaps in defensive structure and ultimately would retain possession of the ball for nearly the entirety of the match. CGRU defended with extreme heart and passion, but unfortunately Lindenwood came away with the win 24-0. This would prove to be their smallest margin of victory of the tournament as Lindenwood went 5-0 to win the Cup in Women’s Open. A testament to the character of the athletes, the CGRU ladies were professional enough to compose themselves and debrief Day 1’s performance with an objective assessment of what changes were needed to have a successful 2nd day.
Encouraged by their performance against a powerhouse university, day 2 would have a refreshed team take the field. 12:00 noon saw the Carolina All Stars take on Rugger Duckies (BYU alumni) in a very close contest but ultimately edging one out 12-0. Again reviewing their game play and leaning on their teammates, the ladies were not yet satisfied with their accomplishments. They set out to push harder and raise the bar once more for the Plate final match against Hooligans. From the kickoff the focus was high, and even in wind gusts over 35 MPH, the Carolina’s All Stars executed flawlessly. All 13 players were confident, composed, and fully dedicated to their team’s success. An amazing display of 7’s rugby saw numerous offloads, expansive passing, crisp continuity and selfless dedication to the team would give the CGRU a 29-0 victory to end the day and a new standard of excellence for the Carolina’s to strive for.
From the outset of the 2018 development camps, there was the intent of elevating the level of play in the Carolina’s by providing the women new opportunities in various ways. The first endeavor has proven that the athletes are indeed capable of raising the bar, and are more than capable of achieving new growth within their sport. All 13 athletes are to be commended for their immense dedication to the process of training, preparing, and competing in a brand new/unknown program while forging new friendships and achieving what was only a vision but is now a new knowledge of what is capable by this region.
The coaching staff (Brad Richard, Justin-Kyle Anderson) wish to thank each player immensely for their selfless dedication to the sport and to their peers, and allowing us to push forward with them to bring the Carolina’s into a new realm of possibility. It was an amazing experience to see players from all over not just play well on the pitch, but truly make new friendships, share meaningful experiences with former opponents, and find commonalities in the pure enjoyment of their love for rugby.
The CGRU Women’s HP Program hopes that more athletes will participate in future development opportunities, so that the program can expand and strive for even more achievements and experiences. Stay tuned for additional offerings in 2018. Best of luck to all clubs in their spring season.
1 - Brad Richard (coach), Liz Ravaioli, Callie Woods, Katie Smith, Amanda Watkins, Cristina Parra
2 - Raelyn Jehlik, Katryna Ritter, Samantha Black, Lolita Galdones, Stephanie Taylor, Maddy Clark, JK Anderson (coach)
3 - Monifa Williams, Alyssa Corralez