Above: Margo Smith looks to shift the ball wide against Morris. (Photo by Shameena Khan)
Saturday, April 25, 2015: Village Lions 27, Morris 10
A tough game at last. After two consecutive matches against weaker opposition, the Leonas took some time in finding their groove on the road against a tough Morris side.
Morris, not the most tactical in field positioning from the boot, were dangerous when any first-up tackle was missed, especially through two strong running centers. Their first try came through a simple plan of straight running, and they crossed the whitewash first in the 17th minute, with a prop powering over.
As the conversion went wide, there was a stern chat going on among the Leonas under the posts — it was time to play. With the front five providing the platform, the back row were allowed the space they needed to express themselves, with Woman of the Match Mallory Woods at 6, Meg Collins at 8, and Tricia Stanley at 7 again and again managing to both find space and link up together, a pattern that continued well throughout the game.
That’s not to say it was easy work: Morris’ defense was strong, and the New Jersey hosts were more than capable of stealing possession if any of the Leonas was isolated. But the pressure did show, and Collins opened the score for VLRFC with a try five minutes from the half.
The second half carried on where the first left off, with both teams enjoying periods of possession and play. The two major factors limiting the Leonas were ill discipline (a few too many penalties conceded) and a strong defensive effort by Morris. The tide continued to swing toward the Leonas when Margo Smith added to her first-half conversion with a penalty in front of the uprights five minutes after the break.
There was a patience and quiet confidence within the team throughout the game that the tries would come, and they did. The Leonas turned the screw and started to dominate play, with three tries in the second half coming from Aislinn Smith at 10, Margo at 12, and finally lock Erin McGee powering over close to the final whistle. Ais had a stellar game at flyhalf, creating havoc with what appeared to be three interceptions in the second half.
Kudos go to the pack, who set the platform for tries to be scored, and as well as to the whole team for its defensive efforts. A lapse came in the final minutes, when Morris crossed the line again. There has to be full concentration and effort for the whole 80 minutes next week against Philly.
Tries: Meg Collins, Aislinn Smith, Margo Smith, Erin McGee
Conversions: Margo Smith (2)
Penalty: Margo Smith
First XV: Quin Works, Allison Baer, Emily Kunsman, Desiree Vodounon, Erin McGee, Mallory Woods, Tricia Stanley, Meg Collins, Megan O’Neil, Aislinn Smith (c), Emmarie Etheridge, Margo Smith, Catherine Sum, Jo Hayes, Megan Banford
Reserves: Lindsay Thompson (40 min. for Works), Amanda Sesny (40 min. for Kunsman), Theresa Cassano (40 min. for Vodounon), Katie Morris (20 min. for Sum; Banford to 13, Morris to 15)
Woman of the Match: Mallory Woods
Silent Force: Aislinn Smith