River vs Worcester April 21st, 2012

In the latest of long series of riotous contests between the Charles River Rats and the Worcester Shamrocks, River faced a sizeable speed bump in a spring season otherwise rife with momentum.  At their home Moakley Park last Saturday, the Lady Rats struggled to rally themselves early, falling victim to a surging Worcester squad.  Rallying late in the match, though, a pliant Charles River rebounded, eking out a 25-19 victory against the visitors.  The victory preserved stretch of 4 weeks with wins, with the orange and green having fallen only to Portland in round-robin tournament play so far this season.

An aggressive Worcester squad scored twice early in the match, leaving River reeling and facing their largest deficit of the season.  Slow to collect themselves into a united defensive line, River was repeatedly forced to turn and chase encroaching Shamrocks in the opening minutes.  Worcester consistently cut back through the middle, taking advantage of the space afforded them by a Rat squad on its heels.  Slowly, though, the Lady Rats ground the Shamrock offensive to a halt. Rallying, Charles River began to walk Worcester back to midfield, and then back into their own territory.  The ladies in orange managed one score, driving to the outside of the field.  The power shift began with forward Jordan Ciciliano, who performed masterfully for the Lady Rats.   Ciciliano collected tackle after tackle, inviting a sluggish Charles River to piggyback on her efforts.  By the half, the Lady Rats had equaled Worcester try-for-try, but trailed 14-10 due to points awarded for extra kicks.

Coach Jess Balogh, with captains Amanda Martin and Jehanne Junguenet, attempted to kindle River at the break.  With the brief respite, Charles River collected themselves and prepared to turn the tables.  Zealous tackling by Julie “Traut” Trautwein and Jordan Ciciliano ignited a Rat squad that had been slow to spark.  Fresh legs and cool heads proved to buoy River: veteran flanker Linda Morris entered the match, helping to calm and focus unsystematic play into sustained, communicative strategy.  Rookie Alicia Scahill, on the wing, broke up the sideline late in the match to grab her first Charles River try.  The Rat’s back line saw increased movement in the second half, with centers Amanda Martin and Cassie Cox pivoting the ball through the middle.

The teams battled, with River adding two tries to Worcester’s one in the second half, making the score a nail-biting 20-19 for the Lady Rats.  The wily orange and green would add one final score, bringing the count to 25-19.  Worcester pressured late, but the timely kicks of flyhalf Alex Schmidt and fullback Maegan Hoover hedged the Shamrocks.  With the victory, the ladies of Charles River earned a fourth winning weekend.  Charles River captains recognized Julie “Traut” Trautwein (forwards) and Cassie Cox (backs) as MVPs, for their play.  Worcester selected River Captain Amanda Martin as Woman of the Match.

The Rats will travel to New Hampshire tomorrow to take on Amoskeag.  Kickoff is scheduled for 11AM in Pembroke, NH.  River would like to thank Worcester for a challenging match, and the fans that came to support the Lady Rats at Moakley Park.