CHERRY HILL, N.J. – The 2013 Women’s Premier League season ended in style Sunday, Nov. 10, at the South Jersey Rugby Pitch in front of fans from across the country. Twin Cities Amazons took the WPL title from back-to-back champion Berkeley All Blues in an enthralling Final.
It took 18 minutes before the Amazons opened the scoring through a Rebecca Radtke penalty kick. Christina Nesberg responded immediately for the All Blues with a try, which was converted by Ruth Bryson.
Women’s Eagle Lynelle Kugler, who scored a try in Friday’s 43-10 win against Beantown, helped the Amazons regain the lead with a try three minutes later, and Anna Brown added another for Twin Cities before the end of the half.
Berkeley’s Anna Brown was sent to the sin bin with less than five minutes remaining in the half, but it was not until the second half USA Rugby AIG Women’s Collegiate All-American Jacie Vonada punished the defending champions with a try.
Up 18-7, Twin Cities scored its final try in the 71st minute through Amanda Kingzett. All Blues WCAA Jennifer Sever scored a consolation try a minute later, but it was not enough for Berkeley in the 25-12 loss.
Kugler was named the 2013 Women’s Premier League Crispin Hard Cider Club Most Valuable Player for her performance.
“There were a lot of deserving players on the team, but the MVP should go to a player who has the biggest impact on the game’s outcome and that definitely was Kugler,” Women’s Eagles Head Coach Pete Steinberg said.
The WPL Championship Final was the culmination of a weekend of competitive women’s rugby in New Jersey, which followed a tough, six-match season for the eight clubs. Twin Cities and Berkeley each had numerous Eagles throughout the squad, as did several of the other teams.
“The final demonstrated a very high level of women’s play,” Steinberg said. “The final was one of the highest level games I have seen in domestic play. If our players continue to consistently have the opportunities to play games of that caliber it will have a big impact on the national team.”
Twin Cities went eight matches without a defeat from the beginning of the season through the Final. The Glendale Raptors, who finished the regular season with six wins and zero losses, were disappointed with the effort against Berkeley in Friday’s Semifinal. Sunday, the women from Glendale, Colo., redeemed themselves with a 17-12 win against Beantown.
Evan Hoese and Tess Kohanski each scored a try for Beantown in the first five minutes, with Emily Jones missing one of the conversions. Glendale did not get on the score board until the 30th minute courtesy of Eagle Hannah Stolba.
The Raptors made another push in the second half and were rewarded with a try from Kandis Ruiz, which Stolba converted, knotting the score at 12-all.
With the match headed for extra time, Glendale pulled out the win with a try from Kristen Shalosky, bringing elation to the Raptors’ bench.
The newest Women’s Premier League team, Atlanta Harlequins, tripled its win total at the WPL Championships. With a lone win in six matches during the summer and fall, the ‘Quins defeated New York Friday and the San Diego Surfers Sunday in the fifth-place match.
Jessica Wooden scored three tries and kicked one conversion as Atlanta streaked to four unanswered tries before San Diego got on the board in the 69th minute. Surfers hat-trick hero Nia Williams could not recreate her performance from Friday’s win against the DC Furies as San Diego fell 24-12.
The Furies opened the final day of the WPL Championships with a seventh-place finish at the expense of New York. Emily Miller scored two of DC’s six tries in the 32-10 win.
Visit the USA Rugby TV YouTube Channel to re-watch the entire WPL Championship weekend.