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Saturday, November 14, 2015

WPL Finals Day One Recap

And then there were two. After a long season and tough semi-finals the Berkeley All Blues will square off against the Glendale Raptors for the WPL title. on Sunday. In the fifth place playoffs San Diego and ORSU advanced to the final.

The first team to qualify for the final was the All Blues who beat the Twin Cities Amazons 29-23 in the closest match of the day. The Amazons went ahead first through the boot of fullback Jacie Vonada but that would last only two more minutes until U.S.A. 7s player Amelia Villines scored the first try of the match to put the All Blues in front. The lead would then swing back to the Amazons when prop Jamie Zarembinski scored a try of her own. However, despite going down a player to the bin the All Blues scored via Phoebe Boone and then Frieda Fetuu once back to full strength for a 15-8 halftime lead.

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The Amazons were able to level the score a few minutes into the second half as experienced hand Kaelene Lundstrum scored and Vonada converted. They then took the lead about then minutes later when Vonada added her second penalty. A converted try from Jessica Turner put the All Blues in front at 22-18 but as the match would show that lead also wouldn't hold. With about ten minutes left Vonada added a try to her tally to give the Amazons a one point edge. Unfortunately for the Amazons they almost immediately gave the score back with Lisa Dombroski scoring the winning try for the All Blues.

The Glendale Raptors had to work hard but eventually came away with a comfortable 44-20 win over New York in their semi-final. Things were close in the 30th minute thanks to a try from Glendale's Sarah Chobot and a penalty from New York's Lauren Rhode but that would change when New York hooker Cynthia Wright was sent to the bin. That allowed Glendale to rattle off 15 straight points to take a 20-3 lead at halftime.

That lead would only be extended in the second half as the Raptors put in two quick tries from Rachel Ryan and Joanna Kitlinski to increase their lead to 32-3. The Raptors would eventually lead 44-3 before New York put in a late comeback scoring a couple of late tries and even a drop goal. New York will now face the Amazons for third place on Sunday.

The fifth place semi-finals also saw matches with score lines heavily favoring one team. In the first match the San Diego Surfers showed why they were disappointed not to make the championship semi-finals by taking it to the Atlanta Harlequins 54-22. The Surfers ran out to a 20-0 lead with 20 minutes played before Atlanta's Alison Price was able to grab a try back. The match would end 35-5 at halftime with the second half more even.

In the other fifth place semi-final ORSU beat the D.C. Furies 51-13. Molly Luft scored three of the first five tries for OSRU as they rolled to a 27-3 halftime lead. Adrienne Acosta, San Juanita Morena, and Jessica Shipley all had two tries for ORSU. Marjorie Olney had a try and Kimber Rozier had two penalties and a conversion for the Furies. 

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