San Diego, CA – Clad in Eagles jumpers for the first time at any USAFL Nationals, the Baltimore Washington Lady Eagles took to the field alongside the Boston Lady Demons in San Diego on October 21-22 in four games in the Women’s Division II. The combination team was coined by the two clubs’ portmanteau “Lady Deegles” for the weekend; despite going 1 and 3 during the tournament, the Deegles were a formidable pairing as evident in the teamwork and overall strong performance.
Although the Deegles started strong in their first contest against feisty newcomers LA Dragons, the Dragons pushed back in the second half with 2 lucky goals. The Deegles put up a hard fight, but were unable to persevere in the shortened tournament-style half. The match was exciting from the kickoff as the Deegles flexed their footy muscles, but the crowning moment of the game occurred off the field as, in true Australian fashion, Eagle Anthony Orford’s shouting match with the umpire earned him a sharply worded banishment.
Coming in strong to their next match, the Deegles earned a shutout win against the Columbus Jillaroos, leaving the women 1 and 1 on their first day of the tournament. With aggressive runs down the boundaries and reliable marking in the back half, the Deegles took the lead with an early goal from ruck Marissa Mullins, followed by goals in the second half by Kristin Poti and Molly Halberstadt as the players found their stride. Although tired after their first game, the players were encouraged by the entire men’s side of the Baltimore Washington Eagles roaring from the sidelines, though some well-timed jabs at the ref earned the Jills a penalty kick.
However, Day 2 of Nationals proved less fortuitous for the spirited pairing, who went down in a rough-and-tumble close loss against Texas Heat; the Heat’s 2-point lead was fiercely challenged both on and off the field as the umpire ruled a Deegles goal “touched” from the goal line (it wasn’t). The final match against reigning champions Portland Sockeyes – paired with the Philly Hawks – was a tough fight that ultimately left the “Hawkeyes” champions for another year running, but demonstrated the ferocity of the Deegles in what one spectator described as “the best game [he’d] watched this weekend.”
The Lady Eagles’ long-time relationship with the Boston Lady Demons was evident both on and off the field. The teams last paired for Nationals in 2012, but these players have met as opponents and teammates throughout the 2017 season and their experience playing together lent itself to strong teamwork and communication.
Baltimore-Washington – 0.3.3
Los Angeles – 2.0.12
Baltimore-Washington – 3.2.20
Columbus – 0.0.0
Baltimore-Washington – 2.3.15
Texas – 2.5.17
Baltimore-Washington – 0.0.0
Portland – 3.9.27