Franklin, WI—Clouds hung heavy over the Milwaukee County Sports Complex on a gloomy October day in Franklin. But it was all smiles and sunshine for the Hamilton Rugby Football Club, as they completed their second season of play with a statement-win against Stevens Point, a 52-5 thrashing in the state’s 3rd place game.
But the final score was not a good indicator of how the game started. Most of the first half could be characterized by big hits and gritty rucks that played out more as a stalemate than a blowout. Hamilton did strike first after a long run by senior scrum half Elise Rades was finished with an offload to Tierra Laurishke, sophomore, for a 5-0 lead just minutes into the game.
But the game was a back-and-forth battle for the rest of the second half until a long run by Rades set up a shifty run by Alex Werra, senior, for another try on the last play of the half.
With the way the two teams were playing, a 12-0 lead at the half didn’t feel comfortable or safe. Luckily for Hamilton, a Stevens Point player tackled Morgan Price, senior, to the ground by her head, resulting in a yellow card and a one-lady advantage for the first 10-minutes of the second half.
Hamilton was able to capitalize on that advantage when Laurishke stole the ball from the hands of her opposition and ran nearly the length of the field for her second score. Price followed with a score of her own after she used her speed to cut through two groups of defenders. On the ensuing kickoff, the team got the ball down the line to Price who again ran it in for a score. Just before the Stevens Point player was set to return, Hannah Pfersch, junior, took a penalty quickly for her first score of the game. When the dust had settled, Hamilton was sitting comfortably with a 32-0 lead with only 20 minutes remaining in the game.
But Hamilton did not relent. Rades setup another score when she kicked the ball down the field, only to pick it up and be tackled just short of try. Werra was able to dig the ball out of the ruck and get it to Taylor Fryda, junior, who dove in for her first try of the season with ten minutes remaining in the game.
Not long after that score, full back Chloe Miller, junior, cleaned up a sequence of sloppy passing by Hamilton players when she plucked the ball from off the ground and shrugged off three tackle attempts as she ran for a try down the sideline, putting her team up 44-0.
Hamilton subbed in nearly a full line of players for the last ten minutes of the game. The new group allowed Stevens Point to score a try off a penalty, but they were able to get that try back when Caralynn Doese, freshman, tackled the ball from the arms of her opponent and picked up the fumble and ran it in for the team’s final score.
Did you know?
- Hamilton finished the season 4-2, their first winning season in team history.
- Last season, Hamilton finished 6th, losing to DSHA JV (20-5) in the state’s 5th place game.
- Historically, Hamilton is 6-1 against teams in the league that don’t come from DSHA or CMH.
- Sydney Raymond set a team record at state, recording 15 tackles.
- Caralynn became the first freshman in team history to score a try in the playoffs.
- Emma Faulstich set a team record for most tackles in a playoff game by a freshman (13).
- Hamilton is graduating 13 seniors from their 38 girl squad.
- Stevens Point is also a second-year team, and this was the first time these two teams met.
- DSHA won the state tournament, defeating CMH 29-16
- Morgan Price
- Scored twice and had nine tackles, an unstoppable force on both sides of the ball.
- Elise Rades
- Didn’t score but went on a series that helped set up at least three scores by breaking, a team high, six tackles.
- Tierra Laurishke
- Scored two of the first three tries, allowing the team to finally get settled in.
- Hannah Pfersch
- Was tied for second on the team in tackles (9) and scored a try off a penalty and assisted directly on others.
- Sydney Raymond
- Played a full 60 minutes and led the team with 15 tackles.