Elite Women's Rugby News

Glendale Merlins Rugby

Merlins Make Nationals, Travel To Atlanta For Playoffs

by | Oct 24, 2018 | Elite Women

Women’s Premier League Squad Face Twin Cities Amazons Friday

The Women’s Premier League (WPL) Nationals take place this weekend, hosted by Life University outside of Atlanta, Georgia. First-round playoff competition will pit top teams from the league’s two conferences against one another, deciding who will ultimately vie for the championship. Dominating a winless Chicago North Shore team last weekend, the Merlins will look to carry their momentum to Nationals, where the team will challenge the top-seeded Red Conference team: The Twin Cities Amazons. Split geographically, the WPL includes Blue (West) and Red (East) Conferences, each consisting of five teams. Home to the Merlins, the WPL Blue Conference also includes the top-seeded San Diego Surfers, who finished the regular season one point ahead of Glendale. The top-seeded Amazons reside in the Red Conference, which is also the home to New York Rugby, who will face San Diego this weekend.

Merlins Make Nationals

Photo by Seth McConnell

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Merlins fly-half and standout from last Saturday’s blowout win over Chicago Hannah Stolba says the team is ready to face the pressures of post-season competition: “Those of us on the team that have been in the WPL for a while know the Amazons pretty well. They’re a physical, strong team. It will be a challenge for us as they’ve been on an upswing the last couple of weeks,” she said. “The team is recognizing that we have something special. Confidence is important, but it’s possible to get caught up in the things you’ve done – we’re still focused on the task at hand: we have to come out and play to our strengths. That can put us in a good position to win and advance.”

Head Coach Luke Gross relays confidently that the team’s calculus is largely internal prior to taking on the Red Conference opponent on Friday: “We’ll watch film, see where their strengths are, see what we can do to curtail them. But that’s not our main focus: we are getting our team ready to play how we play,” he said emphatically. “We’re in a very good spot as a team. We’re peaking where we’re supposed to peak, and injury-wise we’ve got some players back on the pitch that can make an impact.”

The Amazons, who took the WPL Championship in 2013, will put up a fight against Glendale. The Minnesota side includes Olympian Katie Johnson and is captained by nationally capped Eagle Sylvia Braaten, among considerable other talent. With a 5-2 record in the regular season, the Amazons sit atop the Red Conference, defeating New York Rugby last weekend on the road, and solidifying a shot at another title. Similar to the Merlins, the Amazons have hit their stride as the season comes to a close, so the Glendale team has their work cut out. Pending the outcome of Friday’s matches, the Merlins will take to the Life University pitch again on Sunday, facing either New York or San Diego.

Kickoff for the Merlins first round of playoff competition is Friday at 3:30pm Mountain Time. All WPL post-season matches will be live-streamed on FloRugby.com. Follow all of the Glendale teams on Facebook and Twitter for full-time scores on all games and additional information. The full season schedule can be found at https://glendalemerlins.com/rugby-schedule/.

Traveling Players

  • Adewunmi, Adekemi
  • Beard, Jeanna
  • Cantorna, Gabriella
  • Chatelier, Amandine
  • Chobot, Sarah
  • Ehrecke, Rachel
  • Graham, Denali
  • Hale, Alli
  • Kitlinski, Joanna
  • Lam, Leann
  • Learned, Maya
  • Lui, Jenny
  • Lundquist, Lexie
  • Luther, Sam
  • McElroy, Joanna
  • Ordway, Danielle
  • Pacher, Shannon
  • Peterson, Kristine
  • Finkelstein, Melissa
  • Sheveland, Madison
  • Slaught, Madison
  • Stolba, Hannah
  • Suda, Christen
  • Thompson, Charlotte
  • Tordonato, Juliann
  • Wanamaker, Nichole
  • Wypych, JT
  • Adewunmi, Adekemi
  • Beard, Jeanna
  • Cantorna, Gabriella
  • Chatelier, Amandine
  • Chobot, Sarah
  • Ehrecke, Rachel
  • Graham, Denali
  • Hale, Alli
  • Kitlinski, Joanna
  • Lam, Leann
  • Learned, Maya
  • Lui, Jenny
  • Lundquist, Lexie
  • Luther, Sam
  • McElroy, Joanna
  • Ordway, Danielle
  • Pacher, Shannon
  • Peterson, Kristine
  • Finkelstein, Melissa
  • Sheveland, Madison
  • Slaught, Madison
  • Stolba, Hannah
  • Suda, Christen
  • Thompson, Charlotte
  • Tordonato, Juliann
  • Wanamaker, Nichole
  • Wypych, JT