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Tornado Threat Interrupts Tag Tournament

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Alayna Restivo scored a team record, six tries, at a single tournament. Photo courtesy of Becky Danner 

Bellevue, WI–The weather term ‘derecho’ probably doesn’t come up in daily conversation, and having a rugby game cancelled in the middle of play due to the threat of a tornado is not a common occurrence either.

While the storm only produced a number of funnel clouds and no tornado, the derecho, described by the National Weather Service as an event where “wind damage swath extends more than 240 miles and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph,” caused the loss of power to over 70-thousand Green Bay area residents, knocked down trees, put a trampoline on the shoulder of southbound I-43, and caused a premature end to the Titletown Tag Rugby tournament on Saturday.

The Hamilton girls entered the tournament a little shorthanded, bringing two teams with only 11 players. Prior to this weekend’s tournament, the girls scored 42 tries and 33 of those (79%) were scored by players not in attendance at this weekend’s tournament in Green Bay. Also, a majority of the team’s 8th graders were also not in attendance. This gave new and younger players a chance to shine. Despite the absences, playing one less game, and playing in inclement weather, the girls still scored six more tries than they did last weekend and scored the most tries per game in team history (4.6). A lot of that progress was accomplished by cutting down on obstruction penalties and knock-ons, despite the ball being slippery.

Unfortunately, the big gains on the offense were offset by a disorganized defense as the group struggling to contain the outside. They allowed a season-high 7.2 tries a game, sixteen tries more than they allowed last week despite playing in one less game.

The team finish 1-4 and will look to regroup at the next practice, as they prepare for their last tournament in Milwaukee at Wick Field on July 27th.

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Rain hit even before the tournament started.

Team One Game Stories

vs. Green Bay The game was close at half as Green Bay scored three times and the two Oshkosh subs who were playing with Hamilton scored twice. But Green Bay was able to exploit the wing and scored five second half tries. A pass from Mira Vonachen to Alyana Restivo for a score and a try by Kayden Vandermolen kept things respectable in the 8-4 loss.

vs. Wauwatosa Alayna Restivo opened the scoring but Wauwatosa answered back with one of their own. Hamilton responded with a powerful offensive display as long runs by Mira Vonachen set up tries by Kayden Vandermolen and Restivo. Lilly Hagen added what could be described as the run of the year. Taking the ball from midfield and alluding attempted tackles by almost every member of the Wauwatosa team to help give her team a 4-1 lead. Tosa added two before the half to make things interesting before Vonachen went on another long run to set up a Vandermolen score, giving the team a 5-3 lead at half. Wauwatosa would open the half by scoring three of the next four tries. Luckily Restivo was able to add another to keep the score tied. In the dying minutes, a run by Alexis Lykins saved the day and Hamilton was able to secure a 7-6 victory against Wauwatosa that had alluded them last weekend.

vs Embarrass River The sky opened up, forcing the girls to play in a downpour and Emabrrass River poured it on as well, exploiting a number of dropped balls and missed tackles over the course of the game. Alayna Restivo opened the scoring for Hamilton and broke on a long run for another. Twice in the first half Hamilton was stopped within a meter of the try line after giving up the fifth tackle, and the team went into the half down 4-2. Embarrass River opened the second half by scoring four of the next five tries. In that span a sub from Waukesha and a future Hamilton student, Kylee Garancis, scored a try as the team fell behind 8-3. Jenna Mendoza broke the line and went on a big run down the middle and Alexis Lykins added her second of the day, but the team ended up losing 9-5.

Tries scored by players: Alayna Restivo (6)*, Kayden Vandermolen (3), Alexis Lykins (2), Lilly Hagen (1), Jenna Mendoza (1) and Kylee Garancis (1)

*Restivo’s six tries were the most scored by a Hamilton player at a single tournament in team history.

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Mira Vonachen passing the ball in a game against Green Bay. Photo courtesy of Becky Danner.
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Lilly Hagen trying to avoid a tag against Green Bay. Photo courtesy of Becky Danner

Team Two Game Stories

vs. Appleton/Little Chute The team opened the game by using every one of their tags to get Jenna Mendoza in for the score. A possession later, they were stopped just short of the try line. Appleton worked the ball down the line for a score and added another after a Hamilton drop was returned for a score, putting the team down 2-1 at half. Mendoza scored and setup another try to one of the subs from Oshkosh, but Appleton answered with four tries of their own, most of those came because of their ability to work the ball down the line. Losing 6-3, Grace Beatty ran down the sideline for her first try of her career. But Appleton got the score back before the final whistle and Hamilton lost 7-4.

vs. Fond du Lac Lisa Vologdina’s breakaway and offload to Kenzie Friedrich for a score helped open the game on the right note, but multiple Fond du Lac breakaways put the team in a deep hole in the second half. Lilly Hagen was able to break through the line to get one back, but it wasn’t enough as the team fell 6-2.

vs. Green Bay An excellent tag by Kenzie Friedrich was about all that happened in this game, as the sound of weather alerts rang from the hundreds of cellphones at the tournament, letting everyone know funnel clouds had been spotted a county over. The tournament was immediately cancelled and teams scrambled to collect their things and take down their tents in what was a hasty evacuation.

Tries scored by players: Jenna Mendoza (2), Grace Beatty (1), Kenzie Friedrich (1), and Lilly Hagen (1).

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Jenna Mendoza receiving a pass from Lisa Vologdina. Photo courtesy of Becky Danner.

Written by hamiltonrfc

Hamilton RFC was started in 2017 and calls Sussex, Wisconsin home. Currently, the club only has a girls' side.