Greenwich High

Greenwich High’s girls rugby team, the defending Connecticut state champion, defeated by Morris Rugby Club in season-opening game at Cardinal Stadium

Photo courtesy of Antonio Monteiro: Greenwich High’s girls rugby team in action against Morris (N.J.) Rugby Club

Article provided by Antonio Monteiro

Greenwich High School’s girls rugby team, the defending Connecticut state champions, began its 2023 season against Morris Rugby Club from New Jersey in a much-anticipated matchup this past Saturday – a game featuring the No. 7-ranked team in the nation, Morris, and the 16th-ranked Cardinals.

On the strength of three second-half tries, Morris earned a 25-0 win over Greenwich in the season opener, played in rainy and chilly weather conditions at Cardinal Stadium.

From the first whistle, it was evident that this would be a tough and hard-fought match. Despite the challenging weather conditions, the match was full of energy, intensity, and passion.

Morris controlled the game during the first 20 minutes by maintaining possession and territory, which kept the Cardinals pinned in their half of the field. Morris Rugby scored a converted try and then made a penalty kick, giving them a 10-0 lead.

Photo by Antonio Monteiro: Greenwich opened its 2023 campaign with a game at Cardinal Stadium vs. Morris Rugby Club.

Late in the first half, Greenwich established a sustained period of pressure on Morris’s try line, but ultimately, was unable to convert the pressure into points. The visitors’ well-drilled pack kept Greenwich under constant pressure, forcing turnovers at crucial moments.

The second half proved to be a much more evenly contested match with possession and territory evenly split. However, Morris’s ability to maintain possession at the breakdown forced Greenwich to defend for extended periods of time, taking a physical toll on the Cards.

This eventually paid dividends, as Morris ran in three breakaway tries toward end of the game, to seize a 25-0 advantage.

Photo courtesy of Antonio Monteiro: Greenwich played aggressively against a physical Morris Rugby Club squad.

Led by senior co-captain Isabella Gega at prop and junior Julia Monteiro at 8th man, Greenwich’s forwards performed well in the first phase scrums and lineouts, despite facing physically bigger opposition. Senior co-captain Natalie Rojas, playing at fly-half and inside center, provided plenty of go-forward ball and led an inexperienced back line effectively.

“I thought the team had a great showing for the first match of the season against a very strong team,” Greenwich coach Erin Martschenko said. “I was most impressed with our players’ grit, determination, and fearlessness out on the pitch.”

Photo by Antonio Monteiro: Greenwich tried its best to generate an offensive attack against Morris Rugby Club.

“Those are the things a player either has or doesn’t and this group of players most definitely proved they are not afraid and they are willing to give their all,” Martschenko continued. “I was really proud of them for that.”

The Cardinals’ next Division 1 game is at home vs Aspetuk Valley on Wednesday. The game will be a rematch of last season’s championship game of the Connecticut State Rugby Tournament.

Photo courtesy of Antonio Monteiro: Greenwich’s Julia Monteiro in action against Morris Rugby Club

Greenwich edged Aspetuck Valley, 21-19, to capture the state tournament championship in 2022.

Photo courtesy of Antonio Monteiro: Greenwich’s Isabella Gega attempts to break a tackle against Morris Rugby Club.
Photo by Antonio Monteiro: Greenwich’s girls rugby team in action in its season-opening game at Cardinal Stadium.

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