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San Diego Seals 3rd 7s Title

  • 13 Aug 2018

(Standing) Byrge, Blythe, Brisbin, Trujillo, Griendling, Albarelli. (Front) Rovetti, Foster, Olsen, Bizer, Ziluca, MacDonald.

(Photo courtesy San Diego Surfers)

San Diego has won its third USA Rugby Club 7s National Championship, defeating Scion 19-12 in the sixth round of the weekend. Day one was marked by inclement weather and schedule delays, while the Sunday sun shone on the Columbia Athletic Complex in New York City.

San Diego’s championship run was the result of solid athletes excelling in their roles and producing a wide-open, breakdown-thieving 7s game. But Sunday started with a deficit, as Rocky Mountain Magic scored quickly through Nichole Wanamaker, who, along with Alli Hale, was especially good for the Denver side. Magic did score again, but so did Stephanie Rovetti (2), Meya Bizer and Megan Foster, in the 26-12 decision.

The most memorable Cup quarterfinal occurred between ARPTC Blue and New York. It wasn’t until the final 30 seconds of the first half that the teams traded tries – Shamira Robles for New York and Kelli Smith for ARPTC. It looked as if the Little Rock team was going to take the lead in the second half, as Jess Wooden broke through the line. But then Misha Green, a 15s tight-five player, tracked down the Eagle and planted a try-saving tackle inside the five meter, where possession changed hands and ended with a Tahlia Brody try at the opposite end.

With time for only one more restart, ARPTC youngster Jaynee Taufoou rushed downfield like a flood, ricocheting out of attempted tackles for the centered try that Wooden converted at the death, 14-12. New York won its next two games – just surviving Atlanta’s rally 19-17 in the Plate semifinals, before intercept tries from Jennifer Salomon and Gio Cruz aided a 22-5 Plate final against Berkeley.

ARPTC Blue’s run ended in the Cup semifinals, as San Diego used a yellow card advantage to retake the lead for good. Rovetti (2) Megan Foster and Liz Trujillo all scored while Foster and Alena Olsen split kicking duties in the 26-12 win.

The Life West vs. Scion Cup semifinal was championship quality. The Gladiatrix used its smothering defense – led by Bitsy Cairns, Nicole Strasko and Sarah Buonopane – to produce offense, and Amy Naber finished one such turnover in the try zone, and Persinger converted. Scion was poised to even it up as back-to-back penalties extended the Sirens’ attack to the Gladiatrix 10 meter. But an error on the quick tap ended the half, 7-0 to Life West.

A just-forward pass squashed a sure try from Emily Fulbrook, but the superb impact player helped create another opportunity by breaking two tackles on the sideline and sending Jade McGrath to the try line. Nikki Kenyon made the tackle just in time but Dana Meschisi was there for the pick-up and try, 7-all, into overtime.

Scion got the first opportunity to end the sudden-death period, but another forward pass, this time to Morgan, ended the immediate threat. Persinger then pushed off the wing for a long break, but Morgan’s speed prevailed in the pursuit and halted the try, but now play settled into Scion’s end. Overtime played out for nearly six minutes, until Camille Johnson picked off the weak side of the ruck into unguarded territory and scored the game-winning try, 12-7.

Third-place games are always tough, as teams that were one step away from the title bout have to regroup for a final outing. ARPTC Blue was the more inspired side in the first half, sending Christina Swift (2) and Wooden into the try zone for a 17-0 lead. But then the Gladiatrix, which were coming off that exhausting semifinal, tapped into the reserves and again leaned on their defense for more possession. Persinger scored two tries from wing and then Amy Naber added the tying points at the buzzer. Persinger kicked the centered conversion for the 19-17 win.

It was a fantastic game to precede the final match, which began with a thump. Bizer’s hit off the kickoff helped turn over possession and throughout the match, the restarts continued to be an asset for San Diego. After a couple of turnovers, the ball moved to the Surfers’ best finisher, Rovetti, who scored the team’s opening points for a fifth game that weekend.

San Diego held onto the restart and Alena Olsen set Rovetti up for the try, committing two defenders and freeing the ball for the path to the corner. An offsides penalty on the restart put the ball back in the Surfers’ hands, and the team hit the sidelines looking for a gap. Finally, Rovetti just had a go at her opposite, and won. Foster added two conversions for the 19-0 halftime lead.

Scion had its say in the second half. Fulbrook stole the ball out of the tackle and it eventually moved Morgan from 10 meters out. The wing is too much force to be stopped from that distance, 19-5. A forward pass just before the try line injected some frustration, but Scion turned over the ball on the 10 meter and moved it to Morgan, who ducked under Rovetti’s tackle for the try, converted by Rhode, 19-12.

The Sirens tried to build one more attack but San Diego’s defense rallied and eventually produced a penalty that allowed Foster to kick to touch and end the game. San Diego then celebrated a third national 7s title and a worthy opponent to close out the 2017-18 competitive season.

There were so many good games and excellent talent on display (read The Rugby Breakdown’s Twitter for more detail), and USA 7s head coach Richie Walker was in attendance taking it all in. In chatting with commentator John Broker, Walker indicated he was looking for players for the next 7s cycle, which kicks off in October in Colorado and preceded by camp in September.

Club 7s National Championship

Day 2 results / Click here for Day 1


Final: San Diego 19-12 Scion

Consolation (3rd)

Life West 19-17 ARPTC Blue

SF: Scion 12-7 Life West (OT)SF: San Diego 26-12 ARPTC Blue

QF: ARPTC Blue 14-12 New YorkQF: San Diego 26-12 Rocky MountainQF: Life West 25-5 BerkeleyQF: Scion 27-7 Atlanta


Final: New York 22-5 Berkeley

Consolation (7th)Atlanta 31-12 Rocky Mountain

SF: Berkeley 19-17 AtlantaSF: New York 46-0 Rocky Mountain


Final: DC Furies 12-10 Phoenix

Consolation (11th)

11th: Washington AC 7-0 NOVA

SF: Phoenix 14-7 NOVASF: DC Furies 12-7 Washington AC

QF: NOVA 12-10 BostonQF: Phoenix 24-19 ARPTC WhiteQF: Washington AC 10-7 MetropolisQF: DC Furies 7-5 Chicago Lions


Final: Chicago Lions 19-14 Boston

Consolation (15th)

ARPTC White 19-12 MetropolisSF: Chicago Lions 21-5 MetropolisSF: Boston 19-12 ARPTC White

#2018Club7s #SanDiego

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