This article was written by Antonio Monteiro
In a preview of the state championship game, the Greenwich High School girls rugby team hosted Aspetuck Valley Rugby Club of Newtown recently.
The Cardinals lost Aspetuck Valley in convincing fashion earlier in the season due to some early season jitters and some players new to the sport. Yet this matchup proved to be a different story, as Greenwich was edged by Aspetuck, 32-31, in a game in which both teams had their moments.
Aspetuck jumped out to an early lead with a converted try but Greenwich came back with two tries from senior captain Ashley Torres-Brown. Senior Julia Palone made a conversion kick on one of the tries, giving the Cardinals the lead. The visitors scored two more unconverted tries to take a 17-12 lead into halftime.
Greenwich took a 19-17 advantage early in the second half on a try from junior inside center Natalie Rojas. Aspetuck struck back with three unconverted tries to regain the lead, but the Cardinals did not give up, with senior flankers Sydney Natale and Fiona Breier going over for tries. One of the tries was converted by Palone, as Greenwich fell just short in a 32-31 loss.
Overall, the Cards played well and showed mental strength not to give up despite being down on the scoreboard. They dominated the set pieces, winning most of the scums and line-outs, against a very well drilled team.
The two teams will meet again in the state championship game on May 26, with the location still to be determined.
“We played a great game against a tough opponent,” Greenwich coach Erin Martschenko said. “In the second half, our team shifted into an extra gear we hadn’t seen from them yet this season and it was great to watch. We didn’t get the win but the girls should hold their heads high knowing they left it all out on the field and played with intensity and grit to the last second of the game.”
Greenwich closes out its regular season with a Senior Day game vs. Simsbury on Saturday at Cardinal Stadium.