WPL Player of the Week: Berkeley's Katy Augustyn

In the Women's Premier League, teams must win their homes games when there is a higher probability for the top side, unwearied by travel, to play together. In the Blue Conference, winning at home is even more important, as each of the four sides has the ability to defeat the other. At present, there are three teams at 2-1.

The pressure was on Berkeley last weekend, not only because it had to defeat reigning champion Glendale, but because it was also battling some personnel issues. One key positional swap saw Eagle hooker Katy "Kit Kat" Augustyn slide over to prop, opposite Eagle prop Sarah Chobot.

"I wasn't exactly thrilled to prop against Chobot," confessed Augustyn, the WPL's Player of the Week. "I personally would rather have her by my side than play across from her. Our set piece was something we weren't happy with in the San Diego game, and we made it a goal to work on it before playing Glendale. I think it was still a battle - Glendale has a good pack - but I was happy with the improvement on both scrums and lineouts from the previous game."

The team had also focused its previous four practices on ball retention, realignment on defense, and launching off of the line. Everything looked good as Berkeley went up 15-7 into the break. That lead lasted six minutes into the second half, as Kristen Shalosky and Kelly Mullen scored within minutes of each other to put Glendale ahead 19-15.
"We went into halftime happy, but knowing that Glendale would come out hard, and they did," Augustyn recounted. "We went from ahead to behind really quickly and lost some of our composure. Penalties didn't help us; we didn't adapt to the referee. I think it took a solid 25-30 minutes for us to bounce back and play how we had set out to play."

But by the final 10 minutes of play, Berkeley started stringing some nice phases together, and Frances Wehrwein put the go-ahead try on the board, and the conversion afforded a 22-19 victory.

"Anytime you play a close game against an opponent and are able to pull out a win it boosts team morale," Augustyn asserted. "Most people were probably surprised that we beat Glendale after our opening performance against ORSU. Our win against Glendale means that there is half a lot of season left and it will be a dogfight for the top two spots in the conference."

So why Augustyn as Player of the Week? A final word from the self-described utility player who shuffled positions for the good of the team:

"A challenge with the WPL is that it's a really short season and it's costly. Injuries, prior commitments, cost of travel, etc., can change your team from week to week. The team you have for a home game might be drastically different than the team you bring to an away game. It's a challenge that I'm sure many of the teams face, but I am really proud of the All Blues for coming together and working through it."