Fallbrook rarely loses, and if the San Diego team defeats Divine Savior Holy Angels for the Girls High School 7s Challenge trophy, then they will have won three titles (national 15s, California State Cup) in as many weeks. But DSHA doesn’t lose very often either. The Dashers are the third-best high school in the nation (in 15s), and they’re looking for something to salve the wounds of the heart-breaking loss that prevented their trip to the national 15s final.
“After our semifinal loss at 15s nationals, we knew we had to work really hard to come back and take the national 7s title,” DSHA’s Maggie Brennan said. “So we practiced hard, even though there were conflicts with the end of school, and made time so we could get our systems in place.”
The Wisconsin side took some time to find their groove in their opener against Downingtown yesterday but pulled off the 17-5 victory. They ramped it up against West Shore United and Berkshire United for a combined 80-0 scoreline, ending Friday with a perfect 3-0 record. That set up a hard-hitting semifinal against Doylestown today, but the Dashers were not swayed by the uptick in physicality and won comfortably for the final’s berth.
Captains Lindey Wise and Emily Van Bibber have been rocks throughout the tournament, and the team got a lot of support from Brennan and senior Morgan Harris.
“We were really looking forward to this tournament, especially after last year, coming here and having so much fun and doing well,” Harris said. “We were really excited to come back, do it again, and hopefully make it to the finals this time … which we did.”
For seniors like Harris, tomorrow’s final marks the last time that certain Dashers will get a shot at Fallbrook.
“We’ve been really focused and we’ve noticed some things they like to do,” Brennan scouted Fallbrook. “We have to watch the quick lineouts, stiff-arms – making sure we’re ready for it and punch it up a lot.”
“We expect a tough match, so we want to keep up our go-get-em mentality,” Harris added. “It’s more of a mental game – we can match them just as well as they can match us.”
The two teams do play a similar style, and tomorrow will tell who plays the wide-open game better. Regardless, DSHA is looking forward to this title bout for more than one reason.
“We’re super excited to be taking on Fallbrook, which we’ve wanted to do for a while,” Brennan. “We’ve basically been waiting all year for this.”
The final kicks off at 1 p.m. EST, so stay tuned for details.