The Glendale Raptors women’s Division I team will travel to Virginia Beach, Va. this weekend to compete in the 2011 Emirates Airline USA Rugby Women’s Championships. The Raptors will face off against league rivals Chicago North Shore for the national title.
Glendale is a perfect 8-0 on the 2011 fall competitive season. 2011 marks the first competitive season that the Raptor women have advanced to the final four and championship rounds of the tournament.
"We have had an incredible year fueled by the dynamic growth of our club," Glendale Captain Sarah Wilson said. "The girls are hungry, we have been working on refining our mode of play since March, and here we are, with only one match left: the national championship."
Glendale and North Shore are no strangers to each other on the pitch. Both are part of USA Rugby's CR2 league (which also includes Austin, St. Louis, Detroit, the Denver Black Ice and the Chicago Women RFC) and face each other at least once per year during the regular season. The two teams last met on Sept. 10 in Chicago, where Glendale won 29-8.
"We cannot let ourselves get trapped into thinking that we can win, simply because we defeated North Shore earlier in the season," said women’s Head Coach Lisa Rosen. "Our biggest challenge will be sustaining our pace and focus. We have had a long, travel-heavy fall season and we want to make sure everyone on the team is in top form, mentally and physically. It's a balancing act at this point."
"North Shore is well-coached, physical and smart. They have worked every bit as hard as the Raptors to get to this point in the season," Wilson added. "We expect them to be disruptive at the breakdowns and for them to use their size and physicality to run the match at their pace. If we can remain focused and poised under pressure, we stand a good chance at disrupting their game plan and moving the ball to our advantage."
In May of this year, the Glendale men won their own national championship. A victory this weekend for the women would mark the first time in United States rugby history that a club has had both men's and women's teams win national titles within the same year.
"We have a ton of respect for North Shore and are looking forward to a fast-paced, hard-hitting match." Rosen said.
Glendale faces off against Chicago North Shore for the national championship at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13, at the Princess Anne Sports Complex in Virginia Beach.
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