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No Letting Up, WPL Competition Keeps Delivering

  • 23 Aug 2023
  • 3789 Views
New York Rugby

There are four more rounds of regular-season play for the Women’s Premier League (WPL) and five teams are essentially in the race for a post-season berth. Remember that the 2023 season is different from its predecessors in that the entire field will not converge on a national championship weekend. The top-two seeds will host their respective semifinals on Oct. 7, and then finalists will report to a TBA rugby stadium on Oct. 14 for the national championship.

Week 10 was an important one (read the full report on the WPLrugby.org), as New York beat Beantown by a conversion and leap-frogged the Colorado Gray Wolves for third in the standings. It was a thrilling game and one of 11 single-digit decisions between the top-five teams. That level of competition is a characteristic of the league, and it’s been huge in sharpening the skill that is a complete 80-minute game.

After this weekend’s games, it’s possible that one team – Berkeley – will have secured a top-four finish. But even the most-likelys must stay full-on in pursuit of that valuable home-field advantage – a benefit that cannot be overstated. The match to watch in Week 11 is Colorado Gray Wolves vs. Life West, which occurs on Treasure Island this Saturday (TRB will be in attendance). They sit in fourth and fifth, respectively, with six standings points between them. It’s a must-win for the Gladiatrix.

NY rugby

Leila Opeti (l) & Jetta Owens (r)were both active in PR 7s this summer / Photo: Jackie Finlan

Berkeley and Chicago North Shore are meeting in nearby Moraga, and one wishes the All Blues and Gladiatrix could have played their games at the same location. It’s the only time this entire season that both Bay Area teams are playing home games on the same day. On the East Coast, the TC Amazons are heading to Beantown.

An additional reason to stay tuned this fall is the introduction of new players. Class of 2023 college grads are working into the lineups. Harvard’s Alex Pipkin, for example, played fullback for Beantown last week, and USA-capped Dartmouth grad Kristin Bitter (stay tuned for feature piece) might feature in Life West’s lineup Saturday. Same goes for overseas players. Rachel Ehrecke (DMP), Jojo Kitlinski (Sale) and Carly Waters (Sale) are back with the Gray Wolves, as is the Harlequins’ Jenny Kronish for Beantown. Bulou Mataitoga got into Berkeley’s last game of the spring and is back in the blue-and-gold for now. They add a new wrinkle to games, as do all the players who played with the USA Women’s National Team and/or the professional Premier Rugby 7s this past summer.

Click here for more info on the remaining fixtures, the 2023 season results, as well as the current standings.

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