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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Orchard Park Girls rugby defeats Kenmore, secures league title

On Wednesday night the Orchard Park Girls rugby team (6-0) defeated Kenmore Girls Rugby (4-2) by a score of 40-0 at Sparky Adams Field in Tonawanda. With the win, Orchard Park secured its fourth straight Rugby NY West Division title and ran its league undefeated streak to three years. 

Orchard Park scored early and often in a matchup of West Division rivals. The three time defending NYS champion Orchard Park club entered the match with twelve seniors whereas the Kenmore side is by comparison less experienced with over a dozen first time players. Though outmatched, Kenmore competed well, especially when deep in its own zone causing many hold ups and scrums near its try line.

“Kenmore was quick to breakdown and tried to poach the ball” said Orchard Park head coach Lisa Henrich. “I was relieved when we responded to that pressure by hitting rucks with greater urgency. Kenmore’s aggression did result in a number of turnovers”

Senior fly half Emily Henrich scored the first points just two minutes into the match with a try. She kicked in the conversion points to give Orchard Park a 7-0 lead.

Orchard Park would receive the kick after the opening score. They would march down the field where junior outside center Erin Terwilliger would carry the ball and try to muscle her way into the try zone, but the Kenmore defense held up the runner to force an Orchard Park five-meter scrum. Orchard Park won the ball in the scrum and senior Amanda Erie would score the try off of a pick and go to give Orchard Park the 12-0 lead.

Coach Henrich stated “They [OP] made an effort to work on areas of play that I identified before the match. I wanted them to work on a driving maul from a lineout, which they did with great success. I wanted all of the girls to ruck (not just the same few) and all of them did.”

The Orchard Park offense would continue to rumble through the first twenty minutes of the first half using good phases and solid rucking to earn a 40-0 lead at which point the victory was awarded to Orchard Park. Rugby NY’s “Score freeze policy” defines this rule as such:

“In order to avoid the situation where a team is forced to attempt to score as many points as possible in a match to secure a higher finish, we are capping the point differential in a match at 40. Once a team reaches a 40-point lead, the score is frozen.  The game continues and the teams will play the game out.  So if a team gets a 45-5 lead the game continues and the score in the standings will be listed as 45-5 regardless of the actual final score (even if the final point differential is less than 40).”

Even though the contest was officially won by Orchard Park, the remainder of the match would continue to be played as tries, conversions, penalty kicks, and discipline still recorded. Solid fundamentals were demonstrated by both sides. Both clubs showed outstanding discipline as there were few stoppages for penalties committed by either team.

As the score freeze rule was observed, both teams were able to substitute players on a ‘rolling’ basis to get players time in the match and to rest some key individuals.

Kenmore was able to find some success to start the second half after receiving the kick.  Outside center Katie Jung was able gain valuable field position with kicks over the heads of the Orchard Park defenders. Fullback Autumn LoCicero scored two back-to-back tries coming off of long runs to put some points on the board for Kenmore. Fly half Haley Obstarczyk and flanker Maddy Cronan led the defensive effort all match for coach Jerry Hann’s Kenmore side.

On Saturday, May 19th, Orchard Park as well as City Honors (5-1) will compete at the national tournament at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN.

Then, over Memorial Day weekend, both clubs will compete in the overall New York State tournament in Binghamton. Orchard Park has won the last three state titles and City Honors has earned 3rd place in each of those tournaments.

“To win a fourth consecutive state championship we are going to have to pick up our intensity” said Coach Henrich. “Players have to be prepared to complete tackles and play defense…all fifteen will need to be prepared to tackle, tackle, and tackle again if we are to win out at states.”

Wednesday’s match resulted in a final points total was 80-22. Emily Henrich scored three tries and added eighteen points with conversion kicks. Mia Riccardi recorded three tries, Erie and Nicole Jackson scored two each, and Ashlee Reid and Anna Rothenberger scored one each. Terwilliger added to the point total with a conversion kick. LoCicero scored three tries for Kenmore.

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