by Jenny Menke
September 12, 2010
A scrappy start pitted the New York Rugby Club against the Minnesota Valkyries. The Valkyries began the half in their green zone, but were pushed back to defend their own end after losing ground to New York’s kickers. It was Valkyrie winger Sarah Reuter who put down the first try of the game, staying just inside touch as she came from behind to recover a kick from Dez Markovich and place the ball between the posts. World Cup flyhalf Christy Ringgenberg converted the try at the end of the ninth minute to bring the score to 7-0, in favor of the Valkyries. After some back and forth on the field and a few penalties against the Valks, New York opted for a penalty kick, putting up their first three points. At 16:37, Sarah Roehl came into the pack for Kasey Grams, aiming to bring her power to the second row. A well-placed ball by Roehl just a few minutes later started a series of quick balls that opened up Ringgenberg for her first try. The conversion was missed, but the Valkyries were still up, urging New York to answer back in attack. The ability to play through phases and break down the Valkyrie defense permitted New York to score a team-earned try. The conversion was no good, but New York had closed the gap, using their outside speed soon after to score again. This conversion split the posts, sending the Valkyries back to kick off on the 50-meter line. A tenacious defense did not let blue and orange score again, leaving the halftime score at 12-15, in favor of New York.
New York came out strong, setting Minnesota on defense and leading Jenny Menke to the sin bin early in the second half. In true Valkyrie fashion, the remaining 14 pulled together and cleared the red zone. A kicking game from both sides dominated the next fifteen minutes of play, pressuring the back three of both teams and putting their hands to the test. Tracy Call and Markovich did well to field the kicks, working together to protect the Valkyrie 50. With a string of continuity, New York added another five to their lead. The conversion was missed by New York, putting the ball in maroon’s hands with the impetus to score. Twice winger Call got the ball on the outside, but a quick kick down the sideline from New York squelched that Valkyrie effort. Blue and orange put up another seven at the 66th minute, still working to find holes in the defense. Scrums proved to be the order of the rest of the half, with ball-handling mishaps from both teams, but New York managed to pull out another try and conversion before the end of the day. Without the ball in hand, the Valkyries could not put up any more points and the game finished out 12-32.
The Valkyries continue their Premier League season in Portland September 19.
Jenny Menke (yellow card at 43:09)
Meredith Mrachek (for 6 at 70:26)
Sarah Roehl (for 1 at 16:37)
Brenda Khothsombath (for 14 at 75:34)
Christina Gill (for 7 at 70:26)