The Saint Joseph Academy Rugby team traveled to Elkhart, Indiana to compete in the Midwest Girls Championship this past weekend. This tournament draws over 20 teams from around the Midwest in various divisions. The Varsity competed in the Varsity school division and the JV girls competed in the JV School division. This matches the girls up with some of the top single school teams in the Midwest and the country.
Day number 1 kicked off with the Varsity girls matching up with Warsaw out of Indiana. This was a fast paced game that featured the skilled Jaguar back line. Erin Ward ‘19 and Sia Schraff ‘20 led the team with two tries a piece finding gaps and making them count as the Jags went on to win the opening round game with a score of 49-29.
The JV Jags then took on national powerhouse Divine Savior out of Wisconsin in the first JV match-up of the weekend. The experience and discipline of Divine Savior proved to be too much for the young Jaguars as they dropped the first game with a score of 62-12. Finding the try zone for the Jags were Aoife McGowan ‘20 and Maggie Sweeney ‘22. This was a great learning experience for the girls against one of the top programs in the country.
In the second match of the day, the Varsity Jags took on national powerhouse Catholic Memorial from Wisconsin in the School Division Semi-Final. Catholic Memorial came out fast with a lot of defensive pressure that did not allow the Jaguars to let their skills get going. This kept the girls off balance and on their heels for much of the game. The offense never got a chance to get going with the final score ending at 69-0. Despite the lopsided score, the girls kept battling and fought to the end. They learned a lot about themselves and the experience against a top opponent will pay off as the season nears the Rugby Ohio playoffs.
The highlight of the day came in the 4th match of the day with the JV Jags taking on a combined Amherst/Parma team in the JV school division. The hard work, determination, and closeness of this unit finally broke through to get them into the win column. In her first full match Caroline Waters ‘20 picked the ball up on the side of the ruck and crossed it over for her first career try. This was followed up by scores from Alma Rodriguez ‘21, Kate Blouch ‘21, and Maggie Sweeney ‘22. In a back and forth battle, the JV Jags held on to win 20-19. This was a great payoff and is leaving that group hungry for more wins.
Day #2 kicked off with the JV Jaguars vs. Carroll’s JV’s from Indiana. Carroll did a great job of retaining the ball and not making mistakes. The Jaguars played well on defense but just weren’t able to force the timely mistake to change the momentum. Carroll was able to capitalize on a few mistakes and keep control of the ball. Despite an outstanding effort and tough forward play, the Jags could not find the try zone and lost with a final score of 30-0. This was by far the best competition that the JV Jaguars have played and the experience will have great return as they close out the season over the month of May back in Ohio.
The second match of the day and final match of the weekend had the Varsity Jags face off against Grandville, MI in the 3rd/4th place game in the school division. This was a back and forth game that was not decided until the last 5 minutes. The Jaguars came out fast with Erin Ward ‘19 breaking through hitting a flat pass from Kara Whalen ‘19 for a score inside of 10 minutes. After gaining penalty advantage inside Grandville’s 22 meter line Kate Pofok ‘21 slotted a penalty kick for 3 points giving the Jags an 8-0 lead. Grandville then took the game into the trenches where their forwards began controlling the gain line and were able to steal 7 possessions turning 3 of them into scores. With the about 1 minute to go in the half and down by a score of 19-8, Sia Schraff ‘20 found a gap, broke free, and scored to close the gap to 19-15 after the Pofok ‘21 conversion. In the second half, the game went back and forth with both teams trading tries and keeping the game within a score. Allexus Zielinski ‘19 and Erin Ward ‘19 both found the try line. In the end the Jaguars came up just short with a final score of 38-25. The level of competition seen this past weekend will be of great benefit as the Varsity Jaguars are looking to close out the top seed in the Rugby Ohio playoffs and head to the postseason.
Next up for the Jaguars is Senior Night this Friday, May 3rd at St. Edward High School with JV kicking off at 6:00 p.m. vs. Highland/Perry and the Varsity at 7:30 p.m. vs. Mentor.