On Sunday at 2pm, Providence Women's Rugby stepped on the field in East Aurora to face off against Severn River. Both teams had won their "sweet sixteen" matches on Saturday to get to this, the elite eight match. At stake: first place in the region, and the opportunity to advance to the Final Four at USA Club Rugby Nationals in Atlanta, Georgia.
The game started in the rain on an already saturated pitch with a kickoff from Providence to Severn River. Both teams showed incredible grit and determination from the start. After what felt like an unending battle in the mud and rain, deep in Severn River's 22, a penalty in Providence's favor granted #6 and captain Ashley Hanson the opportunity for a kick off the tee. Hanson scored the first points of the match, and Providence inched ahead, 3-0. Late in the first half, Severn River responded with a try of their own, mauling into the try zone off of a line-out. The half ended with a score of 5-3, Severn River in the lead.
The second half saw similar play, with both sides showing strength in support and around the breakdown, keenly aware of the tight score. No points were scored until less than 20 minutes left in the match. Providence executed a smartly played team try, getting the ball in the hands of #14 Morgan Brokaw to finish the play and regain the lead, 8-5.
By the final minutes of the match, Providence found themselves playing defense in their own 22, persistently fending off strong attacks from Severn River. 80 minutes passed, but the ball remained in play through several penalties against Providence. Severn River continued to fight for a try, until yet another penalty against Providence left Severn calling for a tee from the center of the pitch. Severn River saw the chance to tie and go into overtime, but the kick went wide. Providence Rugby took first place at the Atlantic super Regional with their 8-5 victory.
The win against Severn River sees Providence Rugby advance from the Elite 8, moving on to prepare for the next stage of competition in Atlanta on May 21-22. To support the team in their bid for Nationals, see their campaign on Donorbox.