The Women’s Premier League (WPL) West defeated the Women’s Collegiate All-Americans 51-17 in the opening round of the Women’s All-Star Week. The West will now play the WPL East, which defeated the Club All-Stars 32-17, in Saturday’s final at 11:30 a.m. MT. The third place match will also live stream at 9:30 a.m. MT on the WPL’s Facebook page.
The WPL side was favored heading into this match, featuring Eagles and USA pool players as well as adults who play a faster game more consistently. WPL West coach Parisa Asgharzadeh asked the players to bring lots of tempo to the match, and that it would only help the differently styled game she had introduced to the team.
“We worked hard on playing the flat game instead of the steep game. It’s really hard to change that mentality in this country but they executed well,” Asgharzadeh said. “They played a good offload game and supported each other in inside contact, and that’s how we got people through the holes and into space.”
The WPL West dictated the first quarter of play and put up two tries through flyhalf Megan Foster (San Diego) and center Juliann Tordonato (Glendale). After the water break, the WCAAs surged and got on the board through Air Force wing Adrienne Yoder (10-5), and then the try-trading commenced. Tordonato scored again, and then AIC No. 8 Siale Alatini finished off a goal-line series for the try. Lindenwood flyhalf McKenzie Hawkins added the conversion for the 15-12 scoreline in favor of the WPL West. Glendale flanker Rachel Ehrecke broke free for a long run and then got in position for the assist to Tordonato’s third try. Foster converted for the 22-12 halftime lead.
The WPL West quickened the game in the second half and dominated possession.
“Shelby Lin was our scrumhalf the first 60 minutes and it’s because of her speed to the ball and delivery that that pace of game was going so fast,” Asgharzadeh said.
The coach highlighted Foster for setting up teammates all day and launching a solid back line. Berkeley’s Evan Hoese earned equal praise, as did Glendale wing Nichole Wanamaker, who scored a pair of tries.
The WPL West leaned on its experience in the scrum to dominate that set piece but had timing issues in the lineout – an area of focus for Saturday. Asgharzadeh credited ORSU’s Te Awhina Ho Chee and Glendale’s Sam Luther as sources for leadership, especially when the lineouts went awry. Chicago North Shore prop Kadie Sanford was consistent on both sides of the ball, and Berkeley’s Kedra Davis was a big impact player off the bench, going on many connecting runs through the defense.
“Rachel Ehrecke had a phenomenal game, finding holes and running 60-70 meters down field,” Asgharzadeh called out notable pack performances. “She really understood the pattern, was always in the right space and put herself through the edges all day long.”
After the two Wanamaker tries, opposite wing Tiffany Tate (San Diego) took an over-the-head pass from Serena Liu (Berkeley) into the try zone, and then the All Blues player fed Kat Stanley (Chicago North Shore) for another try assist, 44-12. The WCAAs scored once more when fullback Jetta Owens tore into open field. Just before the tackle into touch, the Virginia Tech star fed Penn State’s Gianna Soloman, playing flanker, back inside for the score, 44-17.
The scoring ended as the WPL West scrum drove the WCAAs off its own five meter, and reserve Amandine Chatelier (Glendale) popped off to dot down the ball in the try zone, 51-17 with Foster’s extras.
“We’ll be working on some of our movements on the ground,” Asgharzadeh spoke to improvements for the final. “The breakdown was a little sloppy and forced our scrumhalf to do some digging, which was unnecessary. And they did a good job seeing space but we can always do more work there.”
Additionally, USA Women 15s head coach Rob Cain and Kate Daley joined the teams today and worked with coaches, noting some additional areas of attention. The WPL sides will meet at 11:30 a.m. MT to contest the Women’s All-Star Week final, and the West will aim to play the fast, flat game to take down the East.