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Winona's Playoff Bound

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Winona's Playoff Bound

Winona captured its 7th consecutive Northern Lights Conference title, defeating UM Duluth 100-0 for a perfect league season.

Regional domination has become a tradition for the Black Katts, and Saturday’s match was emblematic of the game Winona has been cultivating these many years: Assertive forwards controlled the contact area and overwhelmed the defense, while speedy, opportunistic backs carved through the open field.

The team is also incredibly flexible, as evidenced by players like Lanoira Duhart and Nadia Nassif. The former played the first half at inside center, from which she scored three tries, and then moved to prop for another two scores in the second half. Nassif added two tries from outside center, but the well rounded senior has also played flanker, scrumhalf, inside center and fullback this fall.

Winona took a 48-0 lead at halftime, as fullback Andrea White (2), No. 8 Amanda Custode and scrumhalf Georgia Porter tacked on five-pointers. Flyhalf Katie Dries slotted four of her six conversions in the first 40.

Hard-charging forwards like flanker Tori Langhans kept the pressure on in the second stanza, and helped set up finishers like freshman wing Megan Wolff, who scored two tries.

“The Black Katts got a bit lax at the breakdown and were penalized for diving over,” Winona coach Josh Krzewinski wrote. “Duluth set up a penalty play and tried to get something going. Duhart, now playing prop, came up to tackle the ball carrier and ripped it out of her hands, spun off and made a 30-meter break for another try.”

After lock Ashley Pomeroy’s try, wing Madison Skalecki and freshman prop Hanah DeMars found try-zone green, and new fullback Rachel Thompson hit three conversions for the 100-point win.

Winona earned a well deserved break this weekend and will begin the post-season in the Round of 32 against Great Waters Conference’s second seed. At present, the brackets indicate that Winona will host UW Whitewater, but the brackets have yet to be finalized. Should Black Katts advance to the Round of 16, the team will face the Mid-America Conference champion.