Summit High Tigers win hometown tournament in ladies rugby | SummitDaily.com

Summit High Tigers win hometown tournament in ladies rugby

Leo Wolfson
Special to the Daily

Rugby is back in Summit County. The Summit High School rugby team got their 2016 season started with a bang hosting the Mountain Kickoff Sevens tournament at Summit High School on Saturday. Sevens rugby is as it sounds — played with seven players on the field at one time. It creates a faster, more open-style game than 15s rugby. Summit provided four of the seven teams in the tournament, splitting the varsity and JV teams in half making Black and White squads from the varsity pool and Green and Gold squads from the JV bunch. For many of the JV players it was their first time facing off against older and more experienced varsity players.

"I'd be lying if I said that I (was) totally comfortable and confident all the time but once you get, like, that first tackle, that first pass, that first really good play, you'll feel confident," explained sophomore JV player Izzy Keller.

The four Summit teams faced off against each other to open the day. In predictable fashion, the two varsity teams made quick work of the JV squads, knocking off each respectively 41-0 and 42-0. It was a tough way to start for those younger JV girls but the experience paid dividends later in the tournament.

"It's about being better than they were in their first game — that's what our goal was in the second game. We came out strong and they had nothing to lose and they thought about that. And they just wanted prove to themselves that they could do better and they did," explained JV coach Kelly Joyce.

Summit's varsity sides kept on rolling in their second games as White defeated Monarch 29-0 and Black beat the Lumberjackies — a varsity-level team from the Evergreen area — 21-0.

Gold played their hearts out in their next match nearly knocking off the Monarch varsity squad. If not for a few mistakes, Gold may even have had a win.

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"I think our defense could have been better, just getting in a flat line the whole time," explained Keller.

Green kept up wonderfully in their next game as well playing to a 5-5 draw with the Lumberjackies. Unfortunately, Green lost the tiebreaker, but it was still an enormously successful tournament for both JV teams.

"They really stepped up because they came out obviously a little wide-eyed in the first game and they just developed over the whole time. It was impressive," said head coach Karl Barth with a smile.

Black got a bye to the championship so it was the Lumberjackies, Summit White and Palmer in the semifinals. White took on Palmer and jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead thanks to a Nicole Kimball try.

Shortly after Kimball added another try off a perfectly executed reverse fake that took Palmer by complete surprise. She earned yet another try when she dribbled the ball soccer style 70 yards before falling on it in the end zone.

With a 34-0 win, White was set to meet Summit Black in the championship. It was only too perfect that two teams who know each other so well would meet for the tourney title.

"I was really excited to play our team," said senior captain Natalie Gray. "We know each other's little things that we like to do and our strengths and weaknesses."

The game was a war with countless breakaway opportunities that were halted with voracious tackles. As far a competitiveness goes it may be the closest game either team faces in Colorado this fall.

"Sometimes against our teammates is the hardest game we get. I mean we're both in the final so it makes sense," said Jodi Losch.

Summit Black clung to a 7-0 lead going into halftime, but Pothier quickly scored out of the break to tie the score at 7-7. Back and forth the two teams fought with nothing to show on the scoreboard. Then, with time dwindling, fate smiled down on Black. An oddly bouncing ball squirted out of a scrum deep in White territory and right into the hands of the senior Losch. Losch high-tailed it for a try which gave Black a fragile 12-7 lead.

"It felt good but it was also, like, that was a lucky bounce, we need to keep working hard, the game is not over. It's just as easy for them to get the same lucky bounce and score again," explained Losch modestly.

They missed the extra point conversion but held tough on defense for the win.

Summit will play in sevens tournaments like these almost every weekend until the state tournament in the middle of November. Rugby Colorado is experimenting with mostly sevens play this year in an effort to make the overall play more competitive.

"It's a good change, like, it's something different which is always fun," said Gray.

Results

Pool Play

Summit Black 42 Summit Green 0

Summit White 41 Summit Gold 0

Summit Black 21 Lumberjackies 0

Summit White 29 Monarch 0

Palmer 20 Summit Gold 0

Monarch 24 Summit Gold 15

Lumberjackies 5 Summit Green 5 (Lumberjackies wins tie breaker)

Semifinals

Summit White 34 Palmer 0

Championship

Summit Black 12 Summit White 7