Surfers WIN over All Blues in NorCal, 69-7

From The Rugby Breakdown – San Diego (1-1) rebounded from its two-point loss in week one of the Women’s Premier League (WPL), beating Berkeley (0-2) 69-7 in Moraga, Calif., Saturday. “In hindsight, that loss might have been a good thing for us,” San Diego coach Jarrod Faul referenced the Glendale loss last weekend. “The girls know we let that game get away from us. We were up by a decent amount of points and should have closed it out. We learned that lesson, and against Berkeley, we played right ‘til the end.” San Diego’s shape and cohesion was better, too, and the visitors were able to stretch the field and punch the holes when needed. The Surfers played at pace – although Faul indicated that fitness continues to be a focus – and saw a comparable amount of points scored in either half. “Berkeley challenged our defense at times,” Faul said. “Sometimes we were too skinny of defense, or there were times where we didn’t stay connected and they attacked the spaces with ball in hand. And their [flyhalf], Lauren Rhode, she did a pretty good job kicking to space and catching us out of position. ”While the majority of the squad that traveled to Glendale was also present in NorCal, there were some adjustments to the starting line as players like Hope Rogers and Jordan Gray (outside center) joined the lineup. Berkeley, too, made some adjustments after the ORSU match, like bringing Dot Mittow opposite Gray, but also looked very similar to week one.

San Diego’s Hunter Griendling, Sam Pankey and Kyla Roth scored multiple tries, while Mely Quiroz, Danielle Miano and Hope Rogers also added five-pointers. Tia Blythe handled the kicking duties. Both San Diego’s and Berkeley’s lineups were similar to week one’s, although the Surfers added Rogers and Jordan Gray at outside to the roster this week. “Collectively, we played really well,” Faul said. “Our flyhalf, Hunter, had an outstanding game. Her game management is improving, especially now that she has an understanding of our systems. She seems to grow with every training and game. She’s a real threat on the pitch and has a good eye for attacking the space. “Sam Pankey had a great game, too,” the coach said of the front row. “She had a great game last weekend, too. She’s a great player to have on your team.”

From USA Rugby WPL Week 2 Recap – San Diego’s opening weekend in the WPL was a sobering one, but the result was a team eager to redeem itself with an 80-minute performance. That motivation turned into a 69-7 win over Berkeley. “We built from lessons learned last week,” San Diego coach Jarrod Faul said. “We had more clarity in our systems this weekend, more cohesion. We did a really good job with the width of the field and attacking spaces. “The Surfers’ attack shape was in better form Sunday, and it produced 11 tries from seven players. Flyhalf Hunter Griendling led all point-scorers (17) on three tries and one conversion, and earned much praise from Faul on her leading performance. Wing Kyla Roth and front row Sam Pankey dotted down twice apiece, while lock Mely Quiroz, inside center Deven Owsiany, replacement wing Danielle Miano, and Hope Rogers in her debut also scored. Fullback Tia Blythe added six conversions. “We tried to play an expansive game and did a good job of keeping the ball alive, keeping at pace, and stressing the defense,” Faul said. “We’re still working on our systems and really working on our accuracy and recognizing when to take the space. And if we want to play that fast, expansive game, then we need to be fitter – which is something I’m constantly driving with the girls.” Faul is also pleased with the numbers at training, with more than 40 players bringing a competitive edge to the squad and challenging for positions. This week, Rogers, Kate Zachary, Jordan Gray and Lauren Brisbin got their first starts of the season.

Link to game:  SD Surfers vs Berkeley All Blues WPL Away 2016