Ranger ladies lock up the 1 seed in the penultimate round

Croydon Rangers women have secured top spot going into the Gridiron Victoria finals.

This weekend the team traveled to Ballarat to face the Northern Lady Raiders, a formidable team with many strong, experienced players.

In their three-season history, the Raiders are the only team the Rangers have been unable to defeat.

This story appeared in the Herald Sun

The ladies in green came out strongly with a score on their first drive off a 15-yard reception from quarterback Bliss Love to receiver Joanna Rashleigh.

Australian representative Love would then add her own score, rushing for 80 yards on the following Rangers possession.

The Lady Raiders put their first mark on the scoreboard via one of their three Australian Outback players, Jordan Di Mizio, bringing the score to 14-8 at quarter-time.

The second quarter saw Rashleigh catching the ball in the end zone for her second score of the night.

On the following kick-off, Alex Bushby executed a perfect on-side kick giving the Rangers possession of the football again.

Unfortunately, they weren’t able to capitalise on the advantage before the half time whistle blew, and they went into the break leading 20-8.

After the break both teams came out with a few adjustments, determined to make the most of every opportunity.

Both squads scored once in the third term, but neither team could convert to get the maximum points so the Rangers went into the fourth quarter with a 26-14 lead.

Australian running back Tanya Russell stepped onto the defensive side of the ball as a safety in the fourth and the personnel change paid off almost immediately as she intercepted the ball and ran in back 80 yards for six points.

Love would also add her third touchdown of the evening, sandwiched between another couple of scores from the Raiders, one of which went to Australian Outback wide receiver Sam Kelly.

Notable defensive performances came from Clara Yip, An Hurst and Milly Rowe, who worked tirelessly to battle the Lady Raiders’ potent offence.

The final score was 40-28, securing the top spot for the regular season and No.1 seeding in the finals.

Next week, Croydon will head to Corio to play the Geelong Buccaneers at 2pm in the last game of the regular season.

If the Rangers are successful in their May 6 semi-final they will be playing in the 2017 Gridiron Victoria Women’s Vicbowl at Croydon’s Springfield Reserve.

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