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Historic Happenings at Final Tag Tournament

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End of season team. Photo courtesy of Alissa Restivo.

The team finished 4-2 in group play and advanced to the playoff stage for the first time in team history.

Game stories by Hannah Pfersch

Team One Game Stories

vs Wauwatosa Team one started the day off hot against one of the team’s most frequent opponents. Like always, the game was a battle. Hamilton struck first, scoring off of a penalty after great support running from Lilly Hagen, Kayden Vandermolen, and Jenna Mendoza. Hagen was awarded the try. There were multiple five-tag sequences for Hamilton defensively that really helped them secure a win. Stellar defensive performance came from Zoey Sullivan when she pulled 3 flags in a row resulting in a turnover for Hamilton. Mendoza went for a long run to score after receiving a beautiful pass from Vandermolen. Haley Meneses added two tries of her own in the game, one off of a pass after a long run from Hagen and one after running the full length of the field. Hamilton came out on top with a final score of 4-2. A Hamilton team has played a Wauwatosa team in every single tournament this year and after this win, remained undefeated going 3-0-1 against them.

vs Waukesha This group put up a good fight against a very experienced team with some very speedy players. Hamilton just missed the mark, often getting so close to the try zone only to have their 5th flag pulled seconds before scoring. The one score of the game came from Lisa Vologdina after nice runs from both Hagen and Mendoza. Many players had great runs, including Emily Haley, that were cut short due to skilled players on Waukesha. While there were moments of light in the game, Hamilton was unable to string many good things together resulting in a 6-1 defeat.

vs Fond du Lac As a final game of the season, these girls put forth a lot of effort playing against a talented team that had been the overall winner of previous tournaments. There were many times the team came close but their own handling errors and frantic passing hindered their offensive progress. Being down the whole game did not stop the girls from playing with a lot of heart and hustle. This was shown in fantastic chase downs for flag pulls by Mendoza and Vologdina. Hamilton’s only score of the game came from a Mendoza line break late in the second half. The final score was 9-1.

Tries scored by players: Jenna Mendoza (2), Haley Meneses (2), Lilly Hagen (1), and Lisa Vologdina (1).

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Lisa Vologdina runs with the ball. Photo courtesy of Alissa Restivo.

Team Two Game Stories

vs West Bend As most teams usually start off the day strong, Hamilton had a rocky beginning to their first game. Plagued with knock-ons and mental lapses, Hamilton went scoreless in the first half while allowing West Bend to score after a defensive collapse. After a halftime wake up call, the second half opened with Meghan Rank going on a long run after a nice, at pace pass from Alayna Restivo. The team defensive effort was also picked up, and Hamilton was able to frazzle the other team enough to create turnover opportunities. Rachel Rank joined her sister by scoring a try of her own from a sequence of passes from Kaylyn (a teammate borrowed from Green Bay) and Jordy Fryda. Emma Kennedy was able to steal the ball back and get it to Meghan Rank who once again used her speed on a long sprint all the way down the field to score. Hamilton cleaned up their act and ended up winning 3-1.

vs PeppNation A weakness that has ailed the team all season was the ability of other teams to exploit our defense on the wings, and this game was no different. After Pepp’s score on the wing, Hamilton struck back immediately with our new friend Kaylyn scoring on a nice pass from Meghan Rank. After coming out of halftime tied, Kaylyn scored for Hamilton right away, going on a nice run. Pepp wasted no time getting that back by once again taking advantage of weak defense on the wing. After a back and forth battle, Hamilton punched in two more team tries with great ball movement and evasive running. Kaylyn finished both of these sequences for us. Hamilton won this battle 4-3 on the last play of the game.

Vs Menomonee Falls Hamilton really stepped it up this game. Hannah and Alex coached many of the Falls players last year when they were coaches for the other program before Hamilton had their own. This one was personal. The game got off to a great start when Meghan Rank intercepted the ball mid pass and ran the distance of the field to score within the first minute of the game. Falls meant business and answered back with a try off of a nice run of their own. Mira Vonachen had a stellar line break and passed the ball to Fryda who would score after many jukes. Falls quickly scored again. Rachel Rank scored on the last play of the half on a pass from Fryda, giving Hamilton a small lead going into the second half. Falls came out strong in the second half and immediately scored twice on Hamilton, putting Falls in the lead. But Hamilton didn’t give up that easy. Kennedy scored off of a penalty line break and then again after a crazy run from Vonachen and a mix of passes from Restivo and Macey St. Louis. There was a lot of back a forth with many five-flag defensive stops for both teams. Hamilton played with everything they had until the last second. To conclude this nail biting match, Hamilton met their potential and defeated Falls 5-4.

With a historic 3-0 record on the day for pool play, a Hamilton team advances to a tournament’s semi final match for the first time ever. They were the number 2 seed in the semi finals: Fond du Lac was the 1st seed, Waukesha 3rd, and Falls 4th.

vs Waukesha This Waukesha team is the same one that Team 1 played earlier in the day and has been beating us all season with their experience and speed. In previous tournaments Hamilton has gone 0-4 against Waukesha teams. This group of girls set out to break that pattern. Hamilton had the best showing against this skilled team that they had all season, scoring a record four tries against them and having the smallest margin of defeat. Hamilton scores throughout the game came from Rachel Rank passed to by Fryda, Meghan Rank assisted from Fryda, a line break by Restivo, and a passing sequence ending with Meghan Rank. Kennedy played amazing defense as she was matched up on Waukesha’s best player all game. The final was 4-7. Hamilton will be back next year and coming for a trophy.

Tries scored by player: Meghan Rank (5), Kaylyn (4) [sub from Green Bay], Rachel Rank (3), Emma Kennedy (2), Jordy Fryda (1), and Alayna Restivo (1).

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In order: Mira Vonachen, Alayna Restivo, and Macey St. Louis set up on defense. Photo courtesy of Alissa Restivo.
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Emma Kennedy avoids the tackle. Photo courtesy of Alissa Restivo.
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Coach Hannah Pfersch gets the team pumped for their first playoff game. Photo courtesy of Alissa Restivo.

Written by hamiltonrfc

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

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