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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Raptors Women Blank Seattle

It was a battle of two of the top women's teams in the country and in the end through the cold and the rain two tries, one a piece in each half, were enough to see the Glendale Raptors beat the Seattle Saracens 13-0. The match was the first of three between the two clubs, continuing one of the best club rivalries in recent years.

"It wasn't pretty," said Stolba after the match. "We haven't played in the rain in awhile, probably the last time was in Seattle but it was a good win. I'm glad we did this. I hope we can continue to do this yearly. The more high quality games the better."

As expected with higher than normal rain in the Pacific Northwest both teams started out with a number of handling errors. However, Glendale were the first team to have a solid chance as a couple of line breaks put them in Seattle territory. A few quick passes and the ball found the hands of wing Kelly Mullen who beat a couple of tackles. The conversion missed but Glendale led 5-0.

Take the jump to read more.
Despite Glendale's early try it would be the Saracens who would have most of the territory in the first half. They consistently found themselves pushing for a try but time after the time either a mental error, solid Glendale defense, or the sloppy conditions caused them to come up short. Still, it was Glendale that would come up with the next score. On only their second trip to Seattle territory in the first half they earned a penalty to go up 8-0.

The Raptors nearly added to that a few minutes later but a forward pass killed the opportunity. It was then Seattle's turn to make a move. Kelsi Stockert, who wasn't slated to start having just made the trip to Fiji with the Serevi Selects but came in early as an injury sub, scooped up a loose ball. The only thing that kept her from scoring has a desperate grab from the Glendale defense that caught Stockert's shorts.

In the second half the teams flipped with Glendale having most of the territory and possession. Veteran Hannah Stolba was solid for the Raptors all game controlling the pace and making the right offensive decisions. With the territory the Raptors soon found themselves near the line but a knock-on kept the score at 8-0.

Eventually the pressure would give Glendale an insurance try. More sustained pressure eventually saw Stolba break then line to find wing Denali Graham for the try. The conversion was off but at 13-0 that was all the Raptors would need to hold on for the final minutes.

When asked about how this match reflects women's club rugby Stolba responded that "women's rugby needs high quality games for exposure. This game was great because you get to see what club rugby can do. The skill level has increased exponentially in recent years and it's going to bump up even more."


Forwards: Sarah Chobot, Jeanna Beard, Katie Janus, Joanna McElroy, Kristen Shalosky, Laura Miller, Rachel Ryan, Jojo Kitlinski

Backs: Jenny Lui, Hannah Stolba, Denali Graham, Kayla Soliday, Christen Suda, Kelly Mullen, Fatima Chavez

Bench: Rebecca Knappe, Amanda Diaz, Laurel Hecker, Danya Clark, Chinyere Isaac-Heslop, Julie Torodonato, Leanna Lam


Forwards: Sami Elliott, Val Laschen, Naima Reddick, Beth Gay, Nova Reimer, Marianne Mork, Emily Alonzo, Kristine Sommer

Backs: Elena Cantorna, Carly McKinnon, Hannah Johnson, Mackenzie Garrett, Jozy Gessner, Averi Kitsch, Megan Jansky-Bingel

Bench: Lizzie Lin, Uche Esonu, Sabina Sun, Nathalie Macknight, Rose Baker, Lauren Barber, Ashley Kmiecik, Kelsi Stockert

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