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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Glendale Claims Second Straight WPL Title

Photo: Travis Prior
The Glendale Raptors women are back to back WPL champions after beating the Berkeley All Blues 26-17 at Infinity Park. The Raptors came back from an early deficit and rode the boot of Eagle Hannah Stolba to claim the title. Other winners on the WPL final day include the San Diego Surfers in the third place match, the Twin Cities Amazons in the fifth place match, and the Atlanta Harlequins in the seventh place match.

It was hard to argue that the All Blues and the Raptors were the two best sides this year and as a result it lead to a terrific final. The All Blues went up first when fullback Lisa Dombroski, who has been very solid this weekend, scored just three minutes in. However, for as much as the All Blues could put together they were hurt by discipline with the first instance coming in the 17th minute when center Frances Wehrwein was shown a yellow card. It took a few minutes but Stolba eventually connected on her first penalty.

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The All Blues then got themselves into even more trouble when Lisa Dombroski was sent to the bin and the Raptors were awarded a penalty try. Now down a woman for another 10 minutes the All Blues also found themselves down at 10-5. The Raptors would add another try through Christen Suda to take a 15-5 halftime lead.

The start of the second half saw the All Blues fight back. Ardia Kelker would score four minutes into the half to cut the deficit to five before Stolba would restore a two possession came with her second penalty. She would then add her third penalty and Kandis Ruiz would score a try with fifteen minutes left to put Glendale comfortably in from at 26-10. The All Blues would score a late try through Ruth Bryson.

In the third place match the  San Diego Surfers bested ORSU 29-22. ORSU went ahead through Beckett Royce and Juanita Moreno. They then benefited from a yellow card to Surfers hooker Chun Chow but couldn't take advantage. That stop swung the momentum in the favor of the Surfers who scored four straight tries from Kyla Roth, Chow, Haley Barclay, and Deven Owsiany to take a 24-10 lead with about 20 minutes to go. ORSU made it nervy thanks to a try from Zoe Wilson in the 62nd minute but a try from Skye Howard six minutes later was enough for the Surfers to hold on. Moreno scored another try for ORSU with less than ten minutes to go.

The fifth place match went to the Twin Cities Amazons who beat New York 24-12. Rachel Maas, Ashley Kastendick (twice), and Sylvia Braaten each had tries for the Amazons. Ashley Nesby and Cynthia Wright had tried for New York but it was Wright's yellow card in the 51st minute that allowed the Amazons to turn a 14-12 lead into a 24-12 lead.

The seventh place match saw the Atlanta Harlequins beat the D.C. Furies 18-5. Megan Foster put the Furies up early before tries from Izraelle Mckinnon, Alison Price, and Kassidi Wynter, as well as a penalty from Laoise O'Driscoll won the match for the Harlequins.

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