The Women’s Club 7s National Championship kicks off this Saturday in San Francisco, and despite some last-minute scrambling, a full 16-team tournament will held. The following is the first of four pool previews.
Pool A: #1 Seattle, #2 North Shore, #3 NOVA 2, #4 Morris
The game to watch is Seattle v Chicago North Shore. Both sides saw their share of tournament titles throughout the 7s season, but it wasn’t until their final competitive outings that their strengths truly showed.
Seattle delivered the shock of the summer when they defeated reigning club 7s champion Berkeley 24-14 in the Pacific Coast championship. A stellar defense came together to shut down the All Blues’ renowned speed and shake up breakdowns. Shifty, powerful ballcarriers like Eagle scrumhalf Carrie White, Megan Sanders, Jess Torres and Parisa Asgharzadeh led the charge on offense.
Coach Evan Haigh from Old Puget Sound Beach was incredibly pleased with the team’s performance – defeating the top-ranked team in the country – and even Berkeley 7s coach Laura Cabrera was eager to get her hands on some of Seattle’s players for the Pacific Coast All Star 7s team. The Breakers spent the last couple weeks ironing out their patterns of play and improving their fitness.
An element of surprise is associated with Chicago North Shore as well. The Midwest hosted its first competitive 7s series, thanks in large part to CNS’s Kate Daley, and while North Shore was favored to do very well, they finished first with a slew of young athletes. The high-profile names like Jenny Lui and Pam Kosanke were absent from tournaments, while young stars like Christiane Pheil and try-scorer extraordinaire Lauren Doyle buoyed the club.
North Shore’s main competitor was the Youngbloodz. The teams split the first two qualifiers, then North Shore demolished the Youngbloodz in the final title match at Grand Rapid 7s. Unfortunately, several of North Shore’s playmakers won’t be making the trip to San Francisco, including Cristina Mastrangelo, Alison Freidman and Pheil. The young squad could really use the absent veterans’ experience on the national stage, although North Shore will have Daley and Tanya Carlson to lend some valuable leadership.
In the end, we pick Seattle for a narrow victory over North Shore and take the top seed in pool A.
NOVA 2 and Morris should move onto the Plate competition. While NOVA 2 performed well during the summer 7s season, their roster has experienced some attrition since the MARFU championships, where the squad finished third. Nine players make the trip to San Francisco, and long-time NOVA veterans Amy Kingsbury (captain) and Caitlin MacAlphine will be tasked with leading this young team, many of which are in their second summer with NOVA.
Even though NOVA 2 is essentially the club’s B side, the team has a couple of up-and-coming athletes to watch. Emily Fullbrook is still in high school and was already named to the MARFU U23 All Star team, while Kathryn Hemlock is playing in her first rugby season since transitioning from professional football with the DC Divas.
A good match should evolve between NOVA 2 and Morris. The New Jersey team finished fourth in the Northeast but were added to the nationals’ lineup when the West and Military forfeited their seeds. The Northeast has three teams at nationals, but New York also forfeited their berth, thereby bumping Morris up.
Morris is young but has decent team speed and a lot of gusto. No big names on their roster, and one of their biggest threats – Miranda Previte, who was named to the Northeast All Star 7s team – will not be making the trip. Not much nationals experience in recent years either, but Morris is excited for the opportunity, and their game against NOVA 2 will be their best bet for a victory.
The top two finishers will move onto the Cup Quarterfinals, while the bottom two will play in the Bowl Quarterfinals on Sunday.
Saturday Pool Play
0900 - Seattle v Morris
0920 - NOVA 2 v Chicago North Shore
1200 - Seattle v NOVA 2
1220 - Chicago North Shore v Morris
1500 - Seattle v Chicago North Shore
1520 - NOVA 2 v Morris
|POOL A ROSTERS
||CHI NORTH SHORE
|Amy De Kock
Pool B Preview
Pool C Preview
Pool D Preview