Wisconsin Kicks Off 2015 Fall Season with 67-3 Victory Against Menagerie

September 12, 2015

The Wisconsin Women kicked off their fall season at home with a win against the Minneapolis Menagerie on September 12 at 11 a.m. Conditions were an optimal sunny 63 degrees with little to no wind.

For their first league match, the team showcased this year’s round of new players and some changes in the lineup. Former hooker for the club, Elisa Becker, made her debut as flyhalf while Cori Jensen filled former Forwards Captain Jessica Burda’s boots as loose head prop with Burda sliding into an assistant coaching position for WWRFC.

This year, Wisconsin will see a younger team on the field as they defend their USA Rugby national title.

Grace Hovde (No. 8) and Melissa “Helga” Polheber (tighthead prop) excelled as key factors in contact and Katie “KO” Odens (outside center) easily found holes in the Menagerie defense. Kris Peterson (strongside flanker) aggressively took on each lineout, forcing Minneapolis’ hand at times.

Wisconsin scored its first try of the match only three minutes in after wing Justine “JT” Wypych beat the opposition on the corner. Blindside flanker, Lauren McCormack, touched the ball down after multiple scrums and picks (13’). The Menagerie earned their first and last points of the game with a penalty kick by Alexia Berg.

Peterson (27’), Odens (32’) and wing Sybil Levine (38’) each scored a try before halftime with Becker making three of her five kicks.


Emi Frerichs came on for McCormack at half and Wypych scored her second try (50’) of the day after burning Menagerie’s defense on the outside and cutting back in. Odens set up Hovde for a sideline try (55’) then was subbed for rookie Callie Graves. Sammy Clevenger came on for Hovde and rookie Felicia Carlson subbed for Wypych just after she scored her first hat trick of the season (61’).

Jensen and Peterson subbed off with rookie Kim Gilmore and Alayna Hronek eager for some playing time. Becker stripped the ball nicely from the Menagerie and passed it out to speedy Levine who got her second try of the match 67 minutes in.

At the 70-minute mark, Forwards Captain Emily “Mouth” Mastandrea subbed off for rookie Anna Kalinsky, while Polheber was swapped for Emma Zoch. Carlson earned her first try ever after she used her incredible speed to touch the ball down (73’). Ashley Shaw, fullback, added her name to try scorers after she received a pass from Levine (78’).

Players of the Match Brittany A., Bree V., and Rosie M., who finally received her 2014-2015 Team Heart Award. Missing: Katie O.

11 tries were scored by 8 different players and Becker made six of her 11 conversions.

View the official USA Rugby Match Report

View the official USA Rugby Match Rosters

Odens was named Player of the Match by the Menagerie while WWRFC’s team honors went to Brittany Aprahamian as Forward of the Match, Odens for Back of the Match, and Bree Valenza as overall Player of the Match.

WWRFC Lineup:
1.    Cori Jensen
2.    Emily “Mouth” Mastandrea (C)
3.    Melissa “Helga” Polheber
4.    Brittany Aprahamian
5.    Sarah Thomas
6.    Lauren McCormack
7.    Kris Peterson
8.    Grace Hovde
9.    Jenn Johnson
10.    Elisa Becker
11.    Justine “JT” Wypych
12.    Bree Valenza
13.    Katie  “KO” Odens
14.    Sybil Levine
15.    Ashley Shaw
16.    Anna Kalinsky
17.    Emma Zoch
18.    Kim Gilmore
19.    Sammy Clevenger
20.    Emi Frerichs
21.    Alayna Hronek
22.    Felicia Carlson
23.    Callie Graves

Wisconsin takes on the Milwaukee Syclla on September 19 at the Wisconsin Rugby Complex at 12 p.m. You can follow the game on twitter.com/WIWomensRugby for live updates.

We’re the Wisconsin Women’s team …

Written By: Lauren McCormack