Summit girl’s rugby batters Palmer 15s at home, 71-0

Phil Lindeman

Summit vs. Palmer — Sept. 17

1st 2nd Final

Summit 41 30 71

Palmer 0 0 0

It takes a tough-as-nails side to enter a rugby match up 64-0 and still hold the opponent to nothing.

Then again, that’s the sort of intense focus and pride head coach Karl Barth has bred in the Summit girls rugby team. Even when there’s absolutely no chance the other side can come close to winning — and believe you me: there’s no erasing a 64-point deficit against the eight-time defending state champs — these ladies simply won’t let up. Palmer of Colorado Springs ran headfirst into a wall of Tigers on a gorgeous Saturday morning when they fell to the Summit varsity squad, 71-0, in the first 15s rugby match of the high school club season.

Oh, and did I mention it was almost all Tigers freshman and sophomores on the pitch in the final 10 minutes?

“I really like what they did in the end, when they didn’t let them score,” Barth said between the varsity and JV matches. “That’s a hard mentality to have for young players — even though you’re ahead you still have to play hard.”

And play hard they did. In those final 10 minutes, Palmer spent more time in Tigers territory than they did in the previous 50 minutes, but Summit played smart, confident rugby to kill momentum and keep the other side off the baseline. They did a fine job squelching Palmer’s two or three legitimate scoring drives, even when the visitors had a line-in at the five-yard mark, and managed to streak down the field for a final try in the last minute.

Before then, the Summit starters put on a clinic. All-American junior Cassidy Bargell, fresh off a trip to France with the Team USA U-18 squad, did what she does best and scored almost every time she touched the ball. She ended the day with four tries and a big, red-white-and-blue smile, courtesy of a Team USA mouthguard.

Bargell had plenty of help from her line (and little sister), as Jodi Losch, Nicole Choma and Delanie Bargell all finished with two tries apiece. Tillie Shuhart also reached the baseline and freshman VK Vincze had the final try of the match. Senior Natalie Gray was off her game with kicks after the try, going 5-for-11 on the day, but the season is still young. Maybe her leg is rusty.

Barth was impressed with his team, youngsters and elite veterans alike, especially when they pulled off a complex play at midfield in the second half — a play they’d only practiced once before putting it into action.

“That’s part of the interesting, schizophrenic world we’re in right now,” Barth said about switching tactics between traditional 15s rugby and fast-moving sevens rugby. “We’re giving them a lot of freedom to run a basic pattern and then choose what they want on the field.”

The Tigers next host a sevens tournament at home on Sept. 24 for homecoming. Play starts at 9 a.m.

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