On a sunny, breezy, early Fall day at Randall’s Island, the Brooklyn Women hosted the Village Lions Women for their second league match of the season. The Lions opened the scoring early, with Silent Force Theresa (T) Cassano plowing over the line from the base of a ruck, wing Margo Smith converting the try. Second row T contributed coherence to the lineouts and was a force in the rucks and scrums throughout the game. The Lions had the majority of possession in the first half, and were able to convert possession and position into points. The next tries were scored by Sierra Cutler (x2) and Sam O’Brien; both came from close-range, powerful, evasive running.
Woman of the Match, Sierra, performed double-duty as 8-man and prop, and, as always, enriched the game with her clean, forward-looking play and huge hits. The Lions forwards tries were enabled by well-driven rucks, which created a stable distribution platform for the scrumhalf, Emmarie Etheridge. As halftime approached, the game began to open up a bit, and play was marked by turnovers for both teams and running gains from both backlines. Just before the half, Lions flyhalf and captain Aislinn Smith found a break in the line and ran in from about 20 yards out for a try. On the ensuing kickoff, a slow defensive response by the Leonas left Brooklyn’s fullback with some space near the sideline, and she was able to turn the corner and put it down. The score at the half was 31-5, Lions.
The second half was more uneven for the Leonas, with a strong start, and then a slight loss of focus. Throughout the game, Ais was able to consistently find space with her kicking, gaining the Lions territory (quoth an observer: “give Ais some space and she’ll kick it in the face”). At the 56th minute, captain Tricia Stanley came in at 8-man and immediately contributed shifty running in the loose and stability in the lineout. Seven minutes into the half, Megan Banford (Oh, Canada!) found a seam and ran in her first of three tries, which Margo converted (8 points on the day—not Owen Farrell numbers yet, but we’re getting there). The Lions rucking started to falter a bit, and Brooklyn was frequently able to turnover the ball at the breakdown and put together some phases, making gains into Lions territory. At the 52nd minute, Emmarie resourcefully picked up from the base of the ruck and darted over the line for a try. Perhaps feeling overconfident, the Lions began to take their foot off the gas. Solid work all day from the Brooklyn forwards in the scrum paired with a combination of strong running from Brooklyn and a series of ill-considered penalties from the Lions, led to two tries for the home team: a quick run from the base of a ruck near the sideline, and a long looping run by the wing, which was converted.
At the 66th minute, fresh legs were called for, and G. Angela Corpus came in at hooker, Jessica (Cookie) Burke at prop and Stephanie Diu at second row. A stern talking-to from captain Ais as well as revitalization from the subs helped the Leonas regain composure. Strong, steady play at the breakdown and a renewed focus on communication (led by inside center Vicky Dushku) carried the Leonas through the end of the game. Quick ball over the gain line and sharp running from a stellar Canada resulted in two more tries before the final whistle, and a Lions win.
Final Score: Leonas 53– Brooklyn 17
Leonas XV: 1 Quin Works (Sierra Cutler 56’) 2 Alli Baer (G. Angela Corpus 66’) 3 Sari Warren (Jessica Burke 66’) 4 Desiree Vodounon (Stephanie Diu 66’) 5 Theresa Cassano 6 Sam O’Brien 7 Tara (Fraggle) Harten (Erin McGee 66’) 8 Sierra Cutler (Tricia Stanley 56’) 9 Emmarie Etheridge 10 Aislinn Smith 11 Margo Smith 12 Vicky Dushku 13 Megan (Canada) Banford 14 Erika Kocher 15 Kristin Geurnier
Subs: 16 Jessica Burke 17 G. Angela Corpus 18 Wenjing Toh 19 Stephanie Diu 20 Sam Haughton 21 Erin McGee 22 Tricia Stanley 23 Jo Hayes
Tries: Cassano, Cutler (2), O’Brien, Smith, A., Banford (3), Etheridge
Conversions: Smith, M. (4)
Woman of the Match: Sierra Cutler
Silent Force: Theresa Cassano