In a thrilling culmination of the 2023 Women’s Premier League (WPL) season, the Colorado Gray Wolves secured the national championship by defeating the Berkeley All Blues 29-24 in a gripping match at Infinity Park Turf in Glendale, Colorado. This showdown between the top two teams showcased intense action and featured multiple lead changes.
The game started with Berkeley taking an early lead through a well-executed try by prop Abby Vogel, converted by Kristen Siano. However, Colorado quickly responded with a team effort, resulting in a try by scrumhalf Kelsie O’Brien, and the conversion leveled the score at 7-7.
Colorado’s ability to move the ball effectively from sideline to sideline under pressure led to their second try, with Rachel Ryan crossing the line. The halftime score favored Colorado at 12-7.
The Gray Wolves continued to apply pressure, maintaining control of Berkeley’s scrum, but the All Blues fought back with Siano’s try and conversion, retaking the lead at 14-12.
Colorado reclaimed the lead through Kate Herren’s powerful running, resulting in her second try of the match. The score now stood at 17-14 in Colorado’s favor.
The Gray Wolves extended their lead to 24-14 after a Berkeley mistake, followed by Sheila Decker’s try, and a successful conversion by Justine Perl.
Berkeley responded with determination, closing the gap to 24-21 with Paris Hart’s try and Siano’s conversion.
Colorado sealed the victory with Herren’s third try, making it 29-21, and despite Berkeley’s late penalty kick, the Gray Wolves held on to win 29-24.
The game showcased the impressive performance of MVP Rachel Ryan, who played a pivotal role for Colorado, both defensively and offensively.
The 2023 WPL season marked a significant shift toward professionalism, with changes in the schedule, playoffs, and increased social media presence. Ali Gillberg received the 2023 Kathy Flores Heart of the WPL award, honoring her contributions to the league’s transformation.
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To review all the 2023 league results and final scores, click on this link. For a detailed preview of the semifinals, you can find it here. And to read our comprehensive Championship preview, follow this link.