The Morris High School Girls Rugby Team finished #5 in the Nation at the recent National Invitational Tournament Club division. Twenty-seven (27) girls traveled to Elkhart, Indiana to compete in Nationals for the fifth year in a row. Morris was the only east coast representative in the Club Division I grouping going 2-1 on the weekend.
The Girls started their weekend against 5 time National Champion and 2 time runner up Fallbrook. The Ladies played well, but the mystic that is Fallbrook, played some mental games with the team . 75% of the first half was played between Morris’ defensive 22 and 40. Only being down 12-0, was something that the team felt they could overcome and pull out a win. The second half found Morris moving the ball much more effectively, but to find the try zone was proving more difficult. A 3rd try late in the game sealed Fallbrooks win. Jordan Cowan, Jess Nagie, Mia Lancellotti, Grace dePoortere, and Sophia Zaragoza lead the team in defense and tackles.
Next up on the day was Hopkins, who was undefeated and won the Midwest Club championship in late April. After a 2 hour delay due to rain, Morris started fast by putting 14 unanswered points on the board. Rain began to fall in the middle of the 1st half which made conditions not the best for our backline. Forwards, Jordan Cowan and Sophia Zaragoza were able to put points up with the conversions made by Allie Mennella and Kelsey Joyce. Hopkins fought back to a 14-10 score at the half. The Second half was back and forth. Mennella scored in the second half, Joyce with the conversion. Hopkins scored once to close out the game 21-15.
Our last game of the weekend was for the 5,6 position at Nationals. Morris faced Pleasanton who had been ranked as high as 4th in the Country. Pleasanton came out fast and furious but Morris kept their composure working their ruck technique to perfection. Mennella scored first and Grace dePoortere scored next. Unfortunately that would be it for Grace. After placing the ball in the try zone, one of the Pleasanton players fell on Graces face. Lauryn Eisenhart scored just before the half putting Morris up 17-5. The second half was all Morris, rugby executed to perfection. Mennella, Cowan and Lauren Madalian all scored in a shorted second half due to injuries to the Pleasanton players. The final 32-5 and a 5th place finish.
After the games were completed, the Elkhart Moose provided a buffet dinner and a place to present the High School Team awards for 2016-2017. We congratulated and thanked those members who have been an integral part of growing the High School girl’s team:
Allie Mennella , Kelsey Joyce, Kelsey Svaasand, Jordan Cown, Jess Nagie, Rosey Sharkey, Grace de Poortere, LeAnn Bauer, Mia Lancellotti.
Our award winners:
Forward MVP – Grace dePoortere
Forward – Most Improved – Sophia Zaragoza
Back MVP – Mia Lancellotti
Back – Most Improved – Lauren Madalian
Leathers Ball Award (highest award) – Jordan Cowan
Gene Caulfield – Head Coach
Stef Aliprandi – Asst. Coach
Tom Feury – Asst. Coach
Chris Paul – Asst. Coach
Mike Stumpf – Asst. Coach