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Girls Midwest Championships: DSHA and Sparta Rock

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Girls Midwest Championships: DSHA and Sparta Rock

Sparta Rock vs Catholic Memorial. Alex Goff photo.

Divine Savior Holy Angels and Sparta Rock will face off in Sunday’s final of the Girls Midwest Rugby Championships.

Both won their first two games on a day when a relatively short thunderstorm interrupted a beautiful day of rugby.

DSHA 46 Penn 0
St. Joseph's 38 Grandville 20
Catholic Memorial 31 Warsaw 0
Sparta Rock 44 Chargers 0

Consolation Semifinals:
Grandville 50 Penn 14
Warsaw 32 Chargers 17

Cup Semifinals:
DSHA 41 St. Joseph's 0
Sparta Rock 35 Catholic Memorial 0


St. Joseph’s Academy had to really work for it against a Grandville team with some significant talent. With Chayse Barksdale and Olivia Graham getting work done up front, an effective and elusive midfield combination of Marla Aymond and Hallie Fewless, and with Rachel Wilkie showing power and savvy at flyhalf Grandville matched St. Joe’s try-for-try in the first half.

But the Jaguars, led by the halfback combination of Mary McEwan and Megan Chura, SJA started to move the ball with fluidity and forced Grandville’s forwards to run. With the likes of the second row pairing of Addy Yarian and Grace Gibbons getting to the breakdown and helping get quick ball, that unleashed Chura and, at fullback, Madelyn Hubbell to put the game away 38-20.

DSHA’s defense was strong but they also controlled possession well against Penn in their quarterfinal. Divine Savior put on the pressure consistently and it was just far too much for Penn to get out of their own end. 

No. 8 Melanie Sanchez ran good lines and her loping stride at up meters. The center pairing of Flannery O’Keef and Yesenia Morales worked well together, with one making breaks and the other in support. Toby Dahm was a workhorse supporting everyone else and got her tries as a result.

The pieces began to come together and DSHA rolled 46-0.

Sparta Rock also won comfortably, beating the Chargers 44-0. Annabelle Dauser is a ball hawk and powerful runner and whether she’s in the second row or the back row she makes things happen. Paige Longcore bashed through lines in the midfield and that left space open out wide for the speedsters.

Catholic Memorial also pitched a shutout, but the score was a little misleading. Yes CMHS won 31-0 but Warsaw was very close to scoring on several occasions and put their opponents under pressure. Catholic Memorial got around the fact that in general their opposition is bigger by moving the ball quickly and making good-technique tackles.

Scrumhalf Alexandra Mavurczak was quick, direct, and explosive, and with support runners like flanker Marigold Fritz they were able to make every scoring chance pay off.

Consolation Semifinals

Aymond and Fewless combined very well to carry Grandville past Penn 50-14. Penn had several chances to score and pull themselves closer but Grandville’s cover defense didn’t give up.

Chargers ran out to a lead against Warsaw, but Warsaw’s speed and doggedness pulled them back into the game. No. 8 Raqual Muñiz was started at center and that didn’t end up being the right option. Once she returned to her loose forward role Warsaw started to pull away. Center Mia Blochers was outstading and her weaving run for a try from well inside her half was a highlight. Warsaw won 32-17 in a comeback.

Cup Semifinals

Both Sparta Rock and Catholic Memorial move the ball fairly well and play tough defense, but Sparta Rock’s strength and overall size difference allowed them to eventually brush off tackles and score. Dauser was excellent in this game as Sparta Rock won 35-0.

DSHA was in control early against St. Joseph’s. Their passing and ball retention were very good and, as Head Coach John Klein explained, with every player knowing her role they were able to use players’ skills at the right time.  Once again Dahm was the consistent link that ensured attacking movements became tries. DSHA wins 41-0.