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2014 Women's Adidas Premiership season preview
Nine-team competition underway this Saturday
 
Published Thursday, February 13, 2014
by Andrew Smith, BC Rugby Communications

clientuploads/-Photos_NewsandEvent_Articles/Womens Club/2013-14/WEB-Womens-Adidas-Premiership-Julia-Sugawara-Preview.jpg

VANCOUVER, BC - The 2014 Women's Adidas Premiership season will kick off this Saturday with four match ups across the Lower Mainland and Seattle.

Women's Adidas Premiership - Sat. February 15th:
Burnaby Lake Rugby Club at Abbotsford RFC (CFV Exhibition Park) 11:30am
United Rugby Club at Capilano RFC (Klahanie Park) 11:30am
Emerald City Mudhens at Seattle RFC (Magnuson Park) 11:30am
Velox Valkyries at Simon Fraser University (Banting Middle School) 11:30am

British Columbia's top level women's club league has expanded to a nine-team format and with the addition of Abbotsford RFC, American sides Seattle OPSB Breakers and Emerald City Mudhens, is set to be one of the most competitive seasons to date.

Abbotsford won the Lower Mainland Tier Two competition this past November and it was newcomer Emerald City Mudhens who took home the Tier One Anna Schnell Cup after an impressive performance against favourites Simon Fraser University. SFU will again feature several BC provincial representatives and with another year of development will be looking to better their 2013 provincial semifinals appearance.

Reigning Adidas Premiership champions Burnaby Lake Rugby Club have re-loaded for their title defence and will again be led by 2013 BC Rugby Player of the Year Julia Sugawara. With head coach Walt Brandl at the helm, Burnaby will be looking to lift their seventh Gordon Harris Memorial Cup.

Last year's finalists Velox Valkyries were champions of the Vancouver Island Rugby Union Fall women's league and have picked up two key recruits for the Spring campaign. The Valkyries have also welcomed back Canada-capped standout Barbara Mervin.

United Rugby Club will be aiming for their first Premiership final appearance since 2010. The Tri-Cities based club will be combining new recruits along with several graduates of their junior program.

Capilano RFC's roster will feature Canada standouts and home grown club products Andrea Burk and Hilary Leith. After spending two seasons with the Saracens in England, Leith will return to power Capilano's front row as they look to lift their first provincial title since 2010.

South Surrey's Bayside AA are always contenders and it remains to be seen what 2014 has in store for the Sharks program that lifted a Lower Mainland Tier One title in 2012. Newcomers Seattle showed well in the Fall 2013 season, advancing to the Tier one semifinals before falling to SFU.

The competition gets underway this Saturday, February 15th and will feature 10 rounds of games before the playoffs start on May 3rd.

Here is this year's team guide to the 2014 Women's Adidas Premiership.

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Gordon Harris Memorial Cup Champions:
Burnaby Lake: 2013, '11, '09, '07, '06, '03
Velox Valkyries: 2012, '08
Capilano: 2010, '04
Nanaimo: 2005
Douglas Rugby Club: 2002, '01
SFU: 2000, '87, '86, '85, '84
Brit Lions: 1998, '96, '95
UVic Vikes: 1994
Vancouver Rowing Club: 1999, '97, '93, '92, '91
Jericho Old Girls: 1982
Not awarded: 1990, '89, '88, '82

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https://ivrnethosting.com/bcrugby/clientuploads/-Logos_graphics/Club Logos/ARFC Pro.pngABBOTSFORD RFC
(Abbotsford / Fraser Valley Rugby Union)
2013 regular season record: BC First Division (5-1) 2nd
2013 playoffs: First Division Semifinal loss to Nanaimo
Last Premiership title: None

Key returnees: Jerusha Dunsmore, Meagan Chambers (Canada U20)

Coach's Perspective - David Chambers: "We are a very young team this season, full of enthusiasm and promise. We are led by Jerusha Dunsmore our captain and no.8. Jerusha has played women's club rugby for several seasons including a summer rep season with the BC women. We are sprinkled with age grade rep players BC and FVRU including Meagan Chambers who represented Canada at the u20 level. This is our first year in this division and we are preparing to face, what we expect to be ferocious and highly skilled opposition. I have no expectations concerning wins or losses as of yet; my expectation for this team is and always has been to build on the experience and enjoy the challenge of competition. By playing at this level I hope we are able to present ourselves to our community in the Fraser Valley as serious athletes and as such attract more young women to our club and sport."

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https://ivrnethosting.com/bcrugby/clientuploads/-Logos_graphics/Club Logos/Bayside07-500px-shadow.jpgBAYSIDE SHARKS
(South Surrey/ Vancouver Rugby Union)
2013 regular season record: 1-5 (6th)
2013 playoffs: Did not qualify
Last Premiership title: None

Key additions, returnees and departures TBC

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https://ivrnethosting.com/bcrugby/clientuploads/-Logos_graphics/Club Logos/WEB-BLRC-Logo.jpgBURNABY LAKE RUGBY CLUB
(Burnaby/ Vancouver Rugby Union)
2013 regular season record: 5-1 (3rd)
2013 playoffs: Gordon Harris Memorial Cup Champions
Last Premiership title: 2013

Key additions: Ciara Malone (UBC), Annabel Arnott , Breanna Watson

Key returnees: Julia Sugawara, Deb Capps, Laura Harmse, Iona Schamberger

Key departures: Kim Donaldson, Maria Gallo

Coach's Perspective - Walt Brandl: "Good Luck handicapping the Women's Premier League this year. I think it will be balanced and wide open. The two Seattle teams add strength and Dave Brown has SFU playing right. Velox is an unknown to me right now, with solid coaching but I am unfamiliar with their roster. Capilano probably improved the most of all the clubs in the fall and should now be stronger with their students back in the fold. I think the skill and level of competition will be excellent this spring.

Burnaby will be a work in progress. There is no doubt that the team will get better, it is just a matter of how fast this will happen. The challenge will be to develop quickly enough to qualify for the playoffs and then see what happens. We will be leaning heavily on our veterans while the new girls get up to speed.

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https://ivrnethosting.com/bcrugby/clientuploads/-Logos_graphics/Club Logos/WEB-Capilano-Logo.jpgCAPILANO RFC
(North Shore/ Vancouver Rugby Union)
2013 regular season record: 1-5 (5th)
2013 playoffs: Did not qualify
Last Premiership title: 2010

Key Additions: Poppy Cleall (Saracens, England), Gabby Hindley, (UBC), Shawnee Monchalin (UBC), Louisa Hadley (UBC), Gillian Boag (UBC) and Cassidy Gale (UBC). Melissa Robinson also returns after five years with UVic

Key Returnees: Lindsay Pimlott, Andrea Burk, Laura Ellwood, Rashida Usman (injury), Nevene Hammoud (injury), Hilary Leith (Saracens, England) NOTE: Hilary will be making the trek from the island to play for Capilano as she is living in Victoria to train with the Canadian team aspiring to make the 2014 world cup squad.

Key Departures: Zoe DeFaveri and Gill McDonald - U18 girls who are now playing back at their high schools.

Coach’s perspective - Darcy Patterson: "We have a very strong, diverse team in both age and experience going into this season. With longtime Capilano’s Lindsay Pimlott, Hilary Leith, Andrea Burk and Laura Ellwood, all having at least 10 yrs. commitment to the club, we have a wealth of Capilano experience to share with all the new comers. With a contingent of UBC players joining Capilano and the return of other strong players we have a completely different team from last half in ways, but are hoping to build off the success and improvement that the girls came to in our last four games (all wins). Standout play from Ashley Morris, Jacklyn Simington, Ashley Robinson and Bri McIntosh all contributed largely to our team improvement last half. It is really exciting to have multiple players in key positions and see how different combinations will play together; every player on our team has something amazing to offer. Competition within the team for playing time will be high but that is a representation of how competitive we will be in the league. All in all I am very excited to see this team display some great team rugby and individual skill."

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clientuploads/-Logos_graphics/Club Logos/Emerald City Mudhens.pngEMERALD CITY MUDHENS
(Seattle / Vancouver Rugby Union)
2013 regular season record: Did not compete in BC Premiership
Last Premiership title: None

Key additions: John Wooler (Head Coach) joins Ashly Kmiecik and Kammi Lopez. Janel Shelton (Front row), Aunnica O'Brien (Forward & Back)

Key returnees: Sara Coe (Western Washington University), Sarah Falk (Western Washington University)

Key departures: Tammi Chick, our veteran Prop, is taking the spring season off so we are missing some key leadership and knowledge in the front row. We have looked to other players to step up  in that role, and Zahra Young will be that person to lead our pack this season.

Coach's perspective - Ashly Kmiecik: "Last season our goal was to rebuild our team and focus on a strategy that played into our strengths. We succeeded in doing that by coming away with the [Lower Mainland title] and now our goal is to keep building on that momentum. Our expectations begin with adding dimension to our game plan and using our strength and speed in the back line. We have a solid foundation of players, however we know we have work to do in our set pieces and line outs. We've picked up a new coach to add to our staff and he has been a wealth of knowledge when it comes to handling skills and kicking. This is an opportunity for us to work on new strength and continue to play a fast paced games.  Spring season will bring more competition as we know that many teams were missing key players that didn't play this fall. We look forward to the challenge."

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clientuploads/-Logos_graphics/Club Logos/Seattle RFC logo.jpgSEATTLE OPSB BREAKERS
(Seattle / Vancouver Rugby Union)
2013 regular season record: Did not compete in BC Premiership
Last Premiership title: None

Key additions: Megan Jansky-Bingel, Ana D'Agrosa

Key returnees: Carrie White, Kate McKenzie, Christina Zier, Tia Flournoy

Key departures: Jesenia Torres, Megan Sanders, Nate Serevi

Coach's Perspective - Marty Quick: "As the new head coach of the Seattle OPSB Breakers, I look to the veterans of this club to set the standard. They have responded on and off the pitch very effectively. There is a solid group of skilled and experienced players that communicate well and have shown the ability to perform under pressure. We have high expectations this spring and with the additional, elite level support from Serevi Rugby and their Olympic Development Academy, the players have experienced individually how to perform and train at a higher level. As a team, we aspire to play as an efficient unit that communicates and anticipates with precision."

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clientuploads/-Logos_graphics/Club Logos/SFURugby.pngSFU RUGBY
(Burnaby / Vancouver Rugby Union)
2013 regular season record: 3-3 (4th)
2013 playoffs: 41-5 semifinal loss to Velox
Last Premiership title: 2000

Key Returnees: Christina Burnham, Sara Byers, December Woodward, Jess Firman, Demi Stamatakis

Club Captain's Perspective - Christina Burnham: "The squad from 2013 remains fairly much in place and will be looking to maintain the development it made in the fall of 2014. BC representative players, Sarah Byers, December Woodward, Jess Firman and Demi Stamatakis will provide much needed leadership. Last year’s finalists, Velox and Burnaby, will both be strong and the Seattle teams will also provide increased competition. The emphasis will be on improving team performance and making the playoffs.

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clientuploads/-Logos_graphics/Club Logos/WEB-United-Rugby-Logo-1.jpgUNITED RUGBY CLUB
(Tri-Cities / Fraser Valley Rugby Union)
2013 regular season record: 5-1 (2nd)
2013 playoffs: 13-5 semifinal loss to Burnaby Lake
Last Premiership title: None (Douglas Rugby Club champs in 2002 & '01)

Key Additions: Jennifer Cousineau (U of Alberta/ BC U20/ Gleneagle High School), Alisha Drews (New), Michelle White (New), Sahar Fazil (New), Amy Leem (United Junior), Mahsa Adibi (United Junior)

Key returnees: Alicia Guerin (United), Stevi Schnoor (United), Crystal “Pixie” Nikolai (United), Naomi Koit (United), Katy Darbyshire (United), Mia Rushton (United)

Key departures: Jozie Kola (Travel), Mack Fawcett (Injury), Casandra Stevens (Island), Karli Coupland (Retired), Denise Galuska (Injury), Yuki Nakahara (Travel), Jessica Hartle (Injury), April Quinto (Retired)

Coach's Perspective - Steph Murphy: "The United Women are excited to be heading into the second half of the 2013-2014 rugby season. The competition is expected to be challenging, and the United Women are preparing for their first games.  The women took the opportunity over the break to structure new individual and team goals.  The ladies are proving to be committed and tenaciously set on making it to this year’s finals.  We’ve been practicing and challenging each other to create more accountable players. “Chance favours the prepared”, and that’s what United will be."

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clientuploads/-Logos_graphics/Club Logos/WEB-velox-logo1.jpgVELOX VALKYRIES
(Saanich/ Vancouver Island Rugby Union)
2013 regular season record: 5-1 (1st)
2013 playoffs: 17-13 Cup final loss to Burnaby Lake
Last Premiership title: 2012

Key Additions: Amanda Thornborough, Julianne Zussman

Key returnees: Barbara Mervin

Key departures: Asya Bartley

Coach's Perspective - Oli Scott: "Our expectation is to play a skillful style of rugby."

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