Round 6 of the Women's Premier League produced exciting matches while four teams now move onto semifinal berths to compete for the WPL National Championship from November 11-13 in Virginia Beach, Va.
The first match of the Halloween weekend pitted the undefeated Berkeley All Blues against the winless Washington Furies. The Furies came out in rare form giving the Berkeley defense a fright with the fast attack. The All Blues were caught off guard when the Furies came out firing and put up some quick points to take the lead. At half-time the All Blues found themselves in unfamiliar territory, behind on the score board for the first time this season.
However, Berkeley came out of the interval strong and confident, putting up 19 unanswered points in the second 40 minute period. Kelly Griffin scored four tries for the All Blues, retaining her spot as the WPL's lead point scorer.
Final score: Berkeley All Blues 32, Washington Furies 14.
As the weekend progressed, another semifinal berth was up for grabs in the Blue Division and what developed was one of the most closely-contested matches of the 2011 WPL Season as evenly matched Beantown and Keystone went head to head to fight for a shot at a national championship.
Going into the weekend Keystone was ahead of Beantown in the Blue Division standings by four points, hoping to secure a spot in the semifinals with a win over their east coast rivals. The match however was tight, seeing both teams fight hard for possession and territory. Points were put on the board early by both teams and the match seemed to be going back in forth in terms of momentum. Beantown however, used their momentum, capitalizing on possession and taking offensive risks inside their own zone. These risks turned out well for them and led to a victory to finish their regular season in the WPL and ultimately earned them a shot at the National Championship.
Final score: Beantown 19, Keystone 10.
The first match of the weekend for the Red Division was between the San Diego Surfers and the New York Women RFC. On paper this match was supposed to be a blow out from the kick off, giving the Surfers an easy match before they battled it out for a national title in their inaugural WPL season. What ensued however was a very close first half, fought between a fast and responsive Surfers team and an unfaltering New York side.
The match was contested all through the first 40 minutes, with phase upon phase of good attack but better defense. The first points of the game came with ten minutes left in the first half, through the quick ball the Surfers are known for. New York responded immediately and put five points on the board through fullback Vaneesha McGee. The score was tied at the half with fans wondering where this New York side had been all season.
The second half saw the Surfers pull away in usual fashion with fast ball from break downs and elusive counter attacks off of New York mistakes. The Surfers scored tries at will in the second half, putting away a tired New York defense. The Surfers scored 32 unanswered points in the second 40 minutes.
Final score: San Diego Surfers 37, New York Women 5.
The cross city rivalry between the Minnesota Valkyries and the Twin Cities Amazons has been nothing close to a rivalry this WPL season, with the Valkyries struggling to find its identity and form. The match between these two northern clubs that took place this last weekend developed an expected result and gave the Amazons a deserved spot in the WPL National Championship semifinals.
While both teams showed up to finish their season on a high note, the Valkyries found themselves early on struggling to claim that elusive victory in the 2011 WPL season. The Amazons dominated from the get go, exploiting the Valkyries' weaknesses to rack up the points through penalties and set phases from line outs. Halftime score: Amazons 24, Valkyries 0.
The second half began as the first started. The Amazons used their hard-nosed defense to secure turn overs and work the phases into the Valkyries half. Once there, the Amazon attack was relentless in their try scoring putting away winger Desiree Markovich. In a game painted with penalties and stoppages, the Amazons used this as a stepping stone into nationals and will look to keep their momentum into the post-season.
Final score: Twin Cities Amazons 48, Minnesota Valkyries 0.
WPL Semifinals - November 11, 2011
Beantown v. Twin Cities Amazons (1 p.m. ET)
Berkeley All Blues vs San Diego Surfers (3 p.m. ET)
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