Burlington Women vs Harrisburg Harlots
Saturday, May 21, 2016
On yet another cold, wet, rainy day, the Harlots took to the pitch on Founder’s Field in Pittsburgh, PA to take on reigning runner up Burlington, VT in the National Quarter Finals.
Boasting the MAC Championship crown and the greatest cheering section at Founder’s Field, our ladies took the next step to Colorado. In typical Harlots fashion, the Women took the lead early. Taking advantage of a Vermont mishandle, “OC” Courtney drilled a penalty kick from 20 meters out – a big kick at a big time and those points would come in handy later in the game. Burlington also had their sights set on a National Crown and would not sink away quickly. After about 10 minutes inside the Burg’s 5 meter line, Burlington crashed over the try line to take the lead 3-5.
As the score would reflect, it was tough slogging throughout the first half. The two teams splashed back and forth up and down the field. Finally, Muscles burst through the line with a tidal wave of power and speed. Burlington was stunned and bowled over as Muscles went in for the go ahead try. The half would close with the Harlots clinging to an 8-7 lead.
The first half seemed like the Burg was swimming upstream in the scrums and the second half was more of the same, even with fresh legs for the Burg. After some nice team play in the loose, Muscles was able to break wide to the corner and place another try. The score was wading at 13-7 with time running down.
Burlington was not ready to be counted out yet. They came back out fired up and used their new found boost to push a scrum over the line and splash the ball down for a try. Closing the gap to 13-12. Shortly after that, Burlington took the lead with a kick of their own. The clock was draining down quickly and the Harlots were losing 13-15. However, our ladies would not be denied. Building the pressure and pressing the attack, the Burlington side started to melt. Finally, McSpeedy got her due as she sprinted around the corner and dove over the line for the go ahead score with just under 2 minutes remaining.
Just a few short 7 minutes later, our ladies had swum to the victory and on to the National Semi Finals. Congratulations ladies, one of the most exciting games in HRFC history. The fans were were going crazy – and not just the fans in the blue section.
Highlights of the game included: in a turnaround from the MAC playoffs, kick countering was fantastic; McSpeedy and Pez each had several nice returns that nearly broke for tries; kick counters setting up the go ahead score; Muscles getting the job done; great poaches at breakdowns; several goal line stands; NEVER giving up; WINNING!!!!
Highlights from the USA Club Rugby Quarterfinals
Pictures courtesy of Valerie Caras
Videos courtesy of Annetta Comstock
Harrisburg Harlots vs Wisconsin Women’s Rugby
Sunday, May 22, 2016
The sun was shining seemingly for the first time since 2014 as the Harlots took the pitch on Sunday morning to take on reigning National Champions, the Wisconsin Women. Facing a team who boasted of speed in the backs and winning every game by an average score of over 50 points, our ladies would not be intimidated.
Feeling confident from a victory that drove a VT team out of the opportunity for a National Championship, the Harlots looked ready to slice up the competition. Right from the opening kick, Harrisburg dominated the field of play. They rucked, they scrummed, they ran all over the fast Wisconsin side.
After some great team play to matriculate the ball down the field, Muscles offloaded a pass on a half break to lighting fast McSpeedy who cruised to her 3rd try of the weekend. The Ladies pressed the attack. Driving, pushing, and aggressively charging, the Harlots came close to scoring on multiple occasions. Unfortunately, they could not quite find pay dirt. Initially stunned, Wisconsin slowly gained confidence. Eventually, they were able to reach over the line for the go ahead try.
The next few minutes were not enjoyable for our Ladies. They surrendered another try and were handed not 1, but 2 yellow cards. Both scrum half Goody and prop Teja were sin binned for questionable repeat infractions. The loss of two players was taxing to say the least. From that point on the women found it hard to attack on defense, which allowed the opposition to dictate play.
The Harlots still had a few tricks up their sleeve, though. Coming out strong, once again the women battled Wisconsin to the edge. Finally back to full strength, Muscles powered the ball to the try line and closed the gap to 12-19. Wisconsin would later take advantage of some errant passes and score two more times. Looking at at a disheartening score of 12-31, our Ladies never quit. The Harlots NEVER backed down. They kept the fight going, pushing into the try zone for the final score of the match with under two minutes left to play. Despite the heart and determination shown by the Harrisburg side, at the end of the day the scoreboard read 17-31 in favor of the reigning National Champions.
The final score was in no way indicative of the play on the field. Some unlucky bounces, unlucky cards, and a few mistakes led to a tough loss. Guaranteed that Wisconsin knew they earned a tough win. Our beloved Harlots should all be proud of their accomplishments this season. These opportunities are few and far between, and the entire club is proud that you gave it your all…down to the bitter end. You might be Harlots by name, but you all stole our hearts this year!
Highlights of the game included: Georgia once again was a dynamic force on attack as well as defense; LD playing center and scrum; the pack – rebounding from a less than optimal performance on Saturday – dominated at times, even down a man; McSpeedy – vroom vroom; Gilmartin put in a disruptive half; Goody played with an aggressive chip all day and all season; and so many more…
Great job and great season Harlots! Do not hang your heads…you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Rugby communities all across America know the name “Harrisburg Rugby” and we have YOU to thank for that. We could not be more proud of you!
THE HARRISBURG HARLOTS ARE AMONG THE TOP 4 WOMEN’S DII CLUB RUGBY TEAMS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!
Highlights from the USA Club Rugby Semifinals
Videos courtesy of Annetta Comstock