News & Events

19 Years and Still Rollin’

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On Martin Luther King Weekend the Portland Pounders held their 19th annual Portland Invitational. The invitational has gone through a lot of iterations as the Pounders have evolved over the years; from rec-level get together, to top-flight DI showcase, and in many years, a competitive regional tournament. This year is a bit of an odd one in the USQRA, with most of the top players more focused on preparing for the international calendar than winning a national championship. As such, the Pounders hosted perhaps their most low-key tournament in recent memory, with just 4 teams, all from the Pacific Northwest, competing. Boise, Seattle, and B.C. all drove down to compete for the inaugural edition of the Cascadia Cup (so new, it’s not actually in cup form yet).

With Chance Sumner out on the IR for Portland, and all of B.C.’s top-level players staying in Canada to do whatever Canadians do in the winter, Seattle went into the tournament as the odds on favorite. But with Fabian stuck in traffic on the first night of play, Boise provided as much as Seattle could handle in the first half of game one. With the rapidly improving Kory Puderbaugh running up and down the court like a hyper-active squirrel, Boise kept it close through 2 periods before Seattle pulled away in the second half. In game 2, Portland was able to run it’s entire team to coast to a win against the under-manned B.C. squad.

Despite everyone playing 3 games on Saturday, things went to chalk, setting up a Sunday final of Portland vs. Seattle and a Boise vs. B.C. ¾ game. In the ¾ game B.C. was looking to get their first win of the tournament. They simply couldn’t get things going like they wanted to though, struggling to contain Puderbaugh, and having to work for every goal on offense. Boise jumped up early and didn’t look back, locking down 3rd place with a solid weekend of play. In the final, Portland was looking to avenge a Saturday loss, where they let Seattle get up early and never recovered. Will Groulx was back in action all weekend, playing his first rugby tournament for the past year or more. While he slid into play like he’d never left, on Saturday the Pounders struggled to get stops on Seattle’s high-low. On Sunday, Groulx showed up in his low-point chair to add some defensive pressure. The resulting game was the best one of the tournament, a fast-paced, hard-hitting affair that saw Portland jump out to and early lead that Seattle chipped away at the for the next three quarters. By the fourth quarter, Seattle looked the better side, and Portland finally relinquished the lead with a few dead-armed passes. Seattle would hold on to the slim margin to win the first Cascadia Cup. Let’s hope the cup is a tradition we can continue for the next 19 years.

The Portland Pounders would like to thank Adaptive Sports NW for hosting the Invitational, Performance Mobility, Providence Health Systems and our other sponsors for their support. The ever-amazing Lisa and Cherie again provided the best food on the rugby calendar, and Gordy was the do-everything badass that he always is. We couldn’t do it without them or any of the volunteers that come out every year to keep things rolling in Portland.

March 18, 2016 — 3:05am