Morris won the West Chester 7s
West Chester University held its first girls’ high school 7s tournament last weekend, hosting eight of the top teams in the region. After a tough day of competition, New Jersey’s Morris lifted the championship trophy. Event director Anthony Deremer, who also coaches West Chester’s varsity program and Rugby PA 15s all-stars, named an all-tournament team and MVP.
“The goal of my tournament was not only to provide the girls and teams a location to play some rugby,” Deremer explained, “but also to provide a quality tournament with well established teams that will draw interest from collegiate and High School All-American coaches, so they can scout talent from the New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania areas.”
Pennsylvania was the best represented state and sent Downingtown, Doylestown, PA United, Rugby PA Selects and West Pitt United. New York’s Play Rugby Academy, New Jersey’s Morris and Maryland’s North Bay rounded out the field. Two pools of four contested round robin games, and then the tournament broke into top-four and bottom-four competitions.
The Cup semifinals featured two pool play rematches, with Morris vs. Doylestown on one side and West Pittsburgh vs. Downingtown on the other. Earlier in the day, the Dragons triumphed 15-12, but injuries hampered Doylestown in the playoffs and Morris pulled away for a 39-7 win.
The West Pittsburgh and Downingtown pool play game was even tighter – 19-19 draw – and the rematch began in eastern Pennsylvania team’s favor. The team scored two tries and had a player advantage after a yellow card, but then back-to-back Makenna Tuman tries pulled West Pitt back into the game. Bella Sinatra added the crucial conversions to afford the 14-12 lead, and then converted Sofia Mancini’s try. Doylestown scored at the death and West Pitt advanced on a 21-17 win.
In the final, however, Morris was able to hold off any comeback from West Pitt, while sending Isabella Masi and Tournament MVP Emma Gamboa into the try zone. Both conversions fell over for the 14-0 win and championship title.
Tournament MVP Emma Gamboa
“Morris was too quick all day for most teams, as tournament MVP Emma Gamboa scored time after time on long breaks outside the defense,” Deremer praised. “Her speed and quickness allowed her to rack up one of the highest try totals for the tournament. Also dominant on the day for Morris were Emma Morino and senior captain Julianna Aliprandi, who exhibited excellent ball skills and evasive running.”
But Deremer was impressed with all of the teams’ performances, making the all-tournament selections difficult:
2018 WEST CHESTER HS 7S
Julianna Aliprandi: Morris
Beyonce Dennis: Play Rugby NY
Audra Fabrizio: Downingtown
Emma Gamboa: Morris, MVP
Tiyanna Hooker: PA United
Nina Mason: Doylestown
Emma Morino: Morris
April Pagel: Downingtown
Alex Pipkin: North BayJordan Roe: Rugby PA
Bella Sinatra: West Pittsburgh
Makenna Tuman: West Pittsburgh
“I hope to grow the tournament into a top-level venue for teams all over the country,” DeRemer looked ahead. “I am looking to create more opportunities for these athletes to use their rugby talents to further their careers not only athletically but academically.”
West Chester is one of 17 programs currently competing in NIRA, the NCAA league for women’s varsity rugby.