Merlins Host Chicago North Shore In Final Regular Season Match

by | Oct 18, 2018 | Elite Women

A road win last week over the Berkeley All Blues locked in the Merlins playoff spot in the Women’s Premier League post-season. This Saturday the squad will host Chicago North Shore in the final match of the regular season. The contest could influence Glendale’s playoff standings: a Merlins win combined with a loss or tie from the San Diego Surfers bumping the Colorado side to the top seed in the Blue Conference. Seeding in the WPL Red Conference is far from decided, with the Twin City Amazons firmly in the top spot, but the next three teams (New York, Beantown, and Atlanta) separated by two league points or fewer. In addition to galvanizing the playoff picture, this weekend provides teams an opportunity to work on finalizing strategy ahead of post-season competition.
Glendale Merlins Women vs Chicago North Shore
Photo by Seth McConnell

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Veteran Glendale fly-half Hannah Stolba was named player of the match for her performance in the Merlins win against the Berkeley All Blues, helping the team solidify a top playoff position. Asked about how this weekend’s match impacts the post-season outlook, she says a victory is always what the team is after: “In terms of the feeling and the momentum we want to carry into Nationals, this is still an important game for us. It gives us a chance to fix the last few details and determine our strategy for the playoffs.” She goes on to admit that the win against Berkeley removes pressure from Saturday’s match: “The win in California allows us to focus on the process rather than the outcome. Chicago is a tough team to face physically, and they’ll be playing for their placement at Nationals. They will be playing to win and so we have to try to negate some of their strengths.” Winless this WPL season, Chicago has a lot to prove on Saturday, and will no doubt come out swinging. The Merlins shutout North Shore in mid-September, a road victory that helped the Glendale team gather steam early in the season. In spite of the 45-0 win four weeks ago, Merlins Head Coach Luke Gross doesn’t discount his opponent. A phrase that’s become something of a mantra of his over the season, Gross says that the Merlins are playing to win every game: “Chicago is a tough, physical team, and the standings don’t reflect how good they actually are. We’ll have to be on our toes if we want to take the momentum from a win into the playoffs.” Saturday’s game will be held on Infinity Park’s brand new, state-of-the-art turf field. Completed in early October, the turf surface is state-of-the-art, and adheres to World Rugby regulations. Kicking off at 7:30pm, the final regular season match for the WPL Merlins is completely free and open to the public. The Women’s Premier League National Playoffs will take place in Atlanta, Georgia this year, from October 26-28. Competing will be the two best-ranked teams from each WPL conference (Blue and Red), vying for top honors in women’s American rugby. Matches will be live-streamed on 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 on the rugby schedule page.

Starting 15

  1. Sarah Chobot – C
  2. Jeanna Beard
  3. Melissa Finkelstein
  4. Joanna McElroy*
  5. Samantha Luther
  6. Amandine Chatelier
  7. Rachel Ehrecke
  8. Joanna Kitlinski
  9. Jennifer Lui – VC
  10. Hannah Stolba
  11. Denali Graham
  12. Gabriella Cantorna
  13. Christen Suda
  14. Nichole Wanamaker
  15. Madison Slaught


  1. Shannon Pacher
  2. Lexi Lundquist
  3. Madison Sheveland*
  4. Kris Peterson
  5. Leann Lam
  6. Juliann Tordonato
  7. Justine Wypych
  8. Colleen Cribbs*

*If Joanna McElroy doesn’t suit up, then Madison Sheveland will start at 4, Colleen Cribbs will move to 18 and Francesca Beller joins the side at 23.