WPL Player of the Week: Atlanta’s Angela Sun

Last weekend, Atlanta won the most important game of its Women's Premier League season thus far. The 26-10 victory over New York was recompense for the loss Atlanta suffered in the teams' first meeting, but it also kept the Harlequins in the race for second place in the Red Conference and berth to the semifinals.

Atlanta improved collectively for week four, but coach Dylan Fawsitt was particularly impressed with 25-year-old flanker Angela Sun, the WPL Player of the Week.

"She usually performs well but more so today; her confidence is really up," Fawsitt said. "Her defensive pressure in the lineout was great. She was everywhere making tackles, disrupting breakdowns - doing her role as a backrow forward."

Focusing on one's role has been a guiding principle this season, as Atlanta has had to cope with some moving parts that made the early-goings somewhat trying.

"This season has definitely been heavy on development," reported Sun, who picked up rugby at Georgia Tech before joining the Harlequins in 2013. "We've had a lot of new additions this year, and it's been great to see how everyone falls into place, including our new coach, Dylan. He's been very open and receptive to communication, and the passion he has for the team really comes through in practices and games, which I think is important for team morale."

Atlanta started moving in the right direction two weekends ago, when it overcame the D.C. Furies 19-14 for the first win of the season.

"There's always more room for improvement, but we were ready for a win," Sun reflected. "And we all put in the effort to get it."

A league-wide bye followed, and that extra time allowed the Harlequins to harness that confidence-boosting energy and fortify weaker aspects of its game.

"We're focusing on our attacking lineouts and scrums going forward," said Fawsitt, who served as Atlanta's scrum coach last year. "If we don't win our set pieces, then we can't play. It's imperative. We did a really fantastic job against New York."

The hosts took notice, as a revitalized, unintimidated Atlanta took the pitch on Randall's Island. The team were separated by two points into the final 10 minutes, until flanker Liz Snodgrass scored a try for cushion, and wing Deshel Ferguson dotted down the bonus-point try as the game ended.

With the win, Atlanta improved to 2-2 to tie New York on standings points (9); however, the latter leads on point differential. Both teams will play conference-leading Twin Cities and the D.C. Furies during the final two weeks, and bonus points will be the key for Atlanta.

"It's given us a needed boost to continue to train hard," Sun commented on the effect of Sunday's win. "There have been some growing pains with all the changes on the team this season, but this past weekend was proof that we can adapt and succeed. In the words of Aaliyah, 'If at first you don't succeed, dust yourself off and try again, dust yourself off and try again.' Literally."