The home opener for the Berkeley All Blues brought the Minnesota Amazons, riding high off of a 62-0 thrashing of the San Diego Surfers, to the other undefeated team of the Red conference. Both teams were hungry to knock the other off and take the #1 spot early in league play.
Within the first minutes of kickoff, it became clear that the word of the day was physicality. While the Amazons controlled possession for most of the first half, the All Blues defense kept them away from the try line, and held them to one kick. That was, until an attempted kick by Amazon Rebecca Radke bounced off the right post, right into the hands of Amanda Kingzett, who leapt over for a try, bringing the score to 0-10, Minnesota.
The All Blues immediately responded with a huge run from Lucy Croy, who offloaded to forwards, where it was eventually brought in to the try zone by Phoebe Boone. Both teams scored once more prior to the end of the first half, bringing the half time score to 14-17. The All Blues try was scored by Blair Groefsema, playing at #8.
When play resumed, the match remained just as physical but position traded back and forth between the two teams throughout the remaining minutes. Both teams scored again, but the Amazons didn’t nab their conversion, bringing the All Blues to within one point with about 7 minutes to go. The All Blues try was made by Phoebe Boone. While the All Blues kept possession for most of the remaining minutes of the game, they were unable to bring it to the try zone and take the lead. A lineout steal brought the ball back to Amazon possession, who retained it until the clock ran out and they were able to kick it into touch. The final score was 22-21, Amazons.
When asked about the loss, head coach Adriaan Ferris stated that he was naturally disappointed with the loss but added that he was happy with a lot of aspects of the game. “Our defensive line speed was superb. After 34 minutes in the first half, after the position that the Amazons had, to only be down 3-nil was a huge indication to the way the girls played defensively.”
“We’re introducing new systems, and new players into those systems. By the time Nationals comes around, we’ll be very well prepared, and we’re going to use the next weeks to start chipping away at some of the details.”
The All Blues head into a bye week to prepare for a home match against the San Diego Surfers on 9/28 at 10am at St. Mary’s College. After the match, the Berkeley All Blues development side will play at 12pm.