Virginia Beach, VA. -- The Emirates Airline USA Rugby Women's Club Championships saw Chicago North Shore take the Division I Championship on Sunday morning. Chicago North Shore met the Glendale Raptors on Sunday afternoon to decide this year’s national champion. Both teams had entered into the weekend off of great performances in the regular season and in the previous rounds of playoffs.
Glendale kicked off to North Shore to begin the match and early play saw Glendale build momentum to take the ball into North Shore's territory. However, Glendale could not capitalize on the opportunities set before them and gave away possession one too many times due to penalties. North Shore used their opponent's infractions to clear their territory and keep the Raptors at bay. Continuous Glendale penalties kept North Shore in possession of the ball and within striking distance of Glendale's try-line. The first points of the game came of yet another Glendale penalty and North Shore was quick to take the three points on offer. North Shore 3, Glendale 0.
From the restart Glendale regained possession and built up some attacking phases. Glendale's backs broke into North Shore territory and the Chicago club was penalized at the break down. Glendale chose the scrum option just outside of North Shore's try-line. After tight forward play and great support from the Glendale Raptors the ball was once again turned over due to a Glendale infraction at the heavily contested ruck. North Shore managed to clear the ball into touch and steal the ball back in the proceeding lineout. After some back and forth play, North Shore pressured a loose ruck very well and stole the ball back form Glendale. North Shore found themselves in Glendale’s territory. But Glendale showed some great defensive organization and won the ball back and move it quickly wide to their backs. This resulted in yet another knock on that saw North Shore with possession, still in Glendale’s half. Glendale was then penalized and Pam Kosanke again took points. Half time score: North Shore 6, Glendale 0.
After a first half that was blurred by continuous penalties and few attacking breaks the teams came out onto the pitch in the second forty with the full intention of bringing more intensity and flair into this championship match. Chicago North Shore stepped up to these intentions and broke into the Glendale half right after the kickoff with a long run to the Glendale five meter line. Glendale responded with an attacking move that saw them take the ball through the hands and into the North Shore half. At the ensuing break down, the Chicago North outside center was yellow-carded for repeated infractions and left her team to defend a Glendale assault with one less player.
Seeing that they had a slight advantage on North Shore for the next ten minutes, Glendale tried desperately to get points on the board by keeping the ball in their forwards and working tight yet fast play. However, Glendale could not utilize their position on the field and turned the ball over yet again to North Shore who quickly counter attacked and moved the ball very fast into Glendale territory. Kosanke decided to take the game in her own hands and capitalized on poor defensive positioning by chipping the ball over her opposite number and gathering the ball right before touching down. She converted her own try and gave North Shore a comfortable lead, 13-0.
Glendale respond quickly though, with many phases and building momentum that put North Shore on their heels as the defended against a fast Glendale attack. Glendale finally touch down when their momentum becomes too much and too fast for the North Shore defense. Conversion is missed, North Shore 13, Glendale 5.
For the rest of the match possession was back and forth as both teams lowered their penalty count and the match became more open and quick. Glendale attempted to use their backs to get through the North Shore defensive line but could not find a hole in the disciplined North Shore line. North Shore was under pressure for much of the last quarter of the game and Glendale tried everything in their arsenal to try and get through, or around, the defense. North Shore showed great discipline, organization, and determination as the kept up with Glendale and resisted their attacks. Chicago North Shore was still on defense when the final whistle blew. Glendale fell to their knees as they realized that opportunities were missed and too many penalties were given away. Pam Kosanke celebrated with her teammates as she had just had the game of her life, leading her club to a National Championship and scoring all of her teams points. Chicago North Shore rejoiced as the final whistle gave way to them being crowned the 2011 Emirates Airline USA Rugby Women's Club Division I National Champions.
Chicago North Shore 13
Pens: Kosanke (2)