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All-Stars Audition for Pacific Coast Grizzlies

  • 01 May 2023
  • 1730 Views
PacCoast rugby

BY MEG FOSTER – The Pacific Northwest (PNW) Womxn’s U23 Selects hosted the Norcal U23 Grizzlies on Friday, April 28 in Tukwila, Wash. The PNW (Washington, Oregon, Idaho) and NorCal (Northern California) regions will be creating a combined PacCoast Grizzlies side for the upcoming U23 All-Star 15s Championship in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 23-25. The exhibition match served as both a selections forum for the combined team and an opportunity for high-level game play for regional players.

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The sides were well matched during the opening match for the Seattle Seawolves vs. Dallas Jackals at Starfire Stadium. Tries were traded back and forth with heavy domination from the forward packs on both sides. Flanker Hannah Kang (Univ Washington) and fullback Nina Munson (Portland Pigs) captained the PNW forwards and backs, respectively. While NorCal got direction from lock Tufue Fesili (Fresno State Univ) and reserve Shareni Donis (UC Davis).

PNW stalwart Tua Tanupo, playing 8 on Friday, came away with a hat trick. Additional PNW tries were scored by props Celine Liulamaga and Tee Teaupa as well as center Tamsen Henry. Scrumhalf Sydney Copeland took conversions for PNW.

NorCal saw tries scored by fullback Viv Aragon and number 8 Mona Tupou. NorCal was forced to play down in the second half due to a yellow card to Christina Sama for a dangerous tackle. The final score saw PNW take the win, 34-22.

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PNW Selects Head Coach Mo Gallant said, “Credit to NorCal for making the trip up to Washington State and for a heck of a fight all 80 minutes. Our PNW side was trailing twice during the match and fought back each time. Our team focus leading up to this match was on being ‘relentless’ and the players executed this motto on offense and defense. I’m extremely proud of their performance and am looking forward to joining forces with NorCal to select a PacCoast Grizzlies team to compete at the U23 All-Star Championship this summer.”

NorCal coach Evan Hoese echoed this sentiment, saying, “It was a high intensity, skilled match, between two great sides. It’s awesome to see opportunities coming alive again for development programming, especially at the regional level. All in all, it was a very special day, and I know it meant a lot to the players who were able to participate. We can’t wait to continue to grow this program!”

The match was the most recent achievement of the new pathway development collaboration between PNW Loggers (U18) and PNW Womxn’s Selects, which traditionally only fielded a senior side. The PNW side was made up of former Loggers and PNW Senior athletes as well as previously untapped players making an impact at the university level.

This was also the second time that the PNW Womxn’s Selects collaborated with the Seattle Seawolves in the form of a curtain raiser. Lauren Barber, Performance Analyst and the Director of Youth and Community Services for the Seawolves said, “Hosting such an immense amount of talent and skill in front a Major League Rugby crowd is something special. Many of the Seawolves fans are new to rugby and may have only watched MLR, so having the opportunity to highlight not only the women’s game, but also local rugby players that aspire to play at a professional level, is something we’re really proud to be a part of. We know it’s events like this that will inspire the next generation of athletes and fans to join the rugby family in some capacity.”

The match was livestreamed on the PNW Womxn’s Selects Facebook page and is still available for viewing.

PNW Sasquatches

1. Tee Teaupa – Seattle RC
2. Isabelle Sandoval – Univ Oregon
3. Celine Liulamaga – Seattle RC
4. Louisa Keating – Western Washington Univ
5. Abbi Triou – Western Washington Univ
6. Ava Baron – Univ Oregon
7. Hannah Kang* – Univ Washington
8. Emele Tanupo – Las Vegas Women (formerly Boise United)
9. Sydney Copeland – Western Washington Univ
10. Madison Ray – Univ Washington
11. Chayse McCann – Univ Oregon
12. Abby Daugherty – Western Washington Univ
13. Tamsen Henry – Western Washington Univ
14. Karina Bridgman – Seattle RC
15. Nina Munson* – Portland Pigs

16. Marie Leiataua – Univ Washington
17. Samantha Rohwedder – Boise State Univ
18. Malia Ili – Central Washington Univ
19. Lola Moeaki – Univ Oregon
20. Kaityn Zagelow – Univ Washington
21. Megumi Shimizu – Seattle RC
22. Sofia Trujillo – Western Washington Univ
23. Haley Parrett – Univ Washington
24. Grace Galles – Oregon State Univ

Monique Gallant – Head Coach
Jessica Shipley – Backs Coach
Erin Breen – Forwards Coach
Heidi Whitman – U23 Coordinator
Meg Foster – Womxn’s Selects Director

NorCal Grizzlies

1. Talita Falepapalangi – East Palo Alto Razorbacks
2. Timea Ryan – Cal Berkeley
3. Veronica Fatai – East Palo Alto Razorbacks
4. May Lauritzen – Cal Berkeley
5. Tufue Fesili* – Fresno State Univ
6. Ashley Alvarez – Berkeley All Blues
7. Malena DeLeon – Fresno State Univ
8. Mona Lisa Tupou – Life West/EPA Razorbacks
9. Miralena Patino – Fresno State Univ
10. Falemei Sanft – East Palo Alto Razorbacks
11. Christina Opeti – Life West/Rhinos Academy
12. Stephanie Elizondo – Fresno State Univ
13. Jesse James-Fesola’a – East Palo Alto Razorbacks
14. Chetna Kumar-Naicker – Fresno State Univ
15. Vivian Aragon – East Palo Alto Razorbacks

16. Shareni Donis* – UC Davis
17. Emily Brower – Berkeley All Blues
18. Angelina Pohahau – East Palo Alto Razorbacks
19. Lilian Dinis – Fresno Golden Dogs
20. Meghana Narravula – San Jose State Univ
21. Christina Sama – East Palo Alto Razorbacks

PNW Reserves
22. Lane Simpson – Univ Washington
23. Molly Criccio – Western Washington Univ
24. Samantha Atienza – Tacoma Womxn

*Captains

Coaches: Evan Hoese, Hannah Stolba

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