The Women's Club 7s National Championship kicks off Saturday in San Francisco on Treasure Island. Below is a preview of Pool D:
Pool D: #1 DC Furies, #2 San Diego Surfers, #3 Youngbloodz, #4 Sacramento Amazons
Pool D is the closest thing to a “pool of death”. The DC Furies, San Diego Surfers and Youngbloodz could easily play in the top eight, but one will be relegated to the Bowl competition with the Sacramento Amazons.
The most exciting aspect of Pool D is the addition of the Youngbloodz, one of four 7s-only clubs in the competition. The brainchild of USA U20 captain Katie Johnson (who had been practicing with the men’s team for several seasons), the women’s side of this Minneapolis-based team came into existence when the Midwest established a pathway to the club 7s championship. The team started out well, defeating Chicago North Shore in the first of three qualifiers, but ended the season with two finals’ losses to the eventual Midwest champion.
The Youngbloodz have some impressive athletes coming out of the Minnesota Valkyries and Twin Cities Amazons: former USA 7s captain Christy Ringgenberg, 15s Eagles Stacey Bridges and Sylvia Braaten, Eagle pool players Jamie Zarembinski and Johnson, who made her senior debut at last month’s performance camp. They’re supported by players from DII’s Minneapolis Menagerie and University of Minnesota.
The DC Furies are the top-seeded team in Pool D. It’s been a mixed bag for last year’s #4 finisher. The Furies have enjoyed their tournament wins, taking home the Lehigh Valley and Cheesesteak 7s titles, but have been unable to get past MARFU leader NOVA 1. When the teams faced each other at the Pick 7s and Delaware 7s, NOVA 1 came out on top. And had the MARFU championships played through the final round (weather ceased play), then we’d expect the same result.
Like many squads, DC has its share of veterans. Ida Bernstein and Jeanna Beard have played Eagle 7s; Eli White returns from the recent women’s performance camp last month; and Brenna Costello, Liz Hirschhorn, Julie Hogan and Jess Shipley are all dangerous playmakers with loads of DC history.
The strongest of the top three clubs in pool D may be the San Diego Surfers. They won the Southern California top seed easily, and augmented their local qualifiers with trips to San Francisco to play the Berkeley All Blues and out to Colorado for the Denver 7s.
The Surfers have made significant progress in the past month. They advanced to the final of Berkeley’s small San Francisco 7s tournament in June, losing to the hosts, but rebounded with a tournament title against the All Blues at the Denver 7s. An all-around, solid team, look for 7s stars Emilie Bydwell, Katie Lorenz, Ryan Carlyle and Val Griffeth to drive their victories.
Finally, we have the Sacramento Amazons, which were added to the nationals’ lineup with three seeds were vacated by the West and Military. The Zons finished fourth at the Pacific Coast Championship and ended their territorial outing with a 49-5 loss to Berkeley in the semifinals and 36-14 defeat to Emerald City Mudhens in the third-place game.
The Zons don’t have much national-level experience, but they will be aided by the fact that they’re local and familiar with the terrain. What they bring to the field is a love of physicality and aggression. Teams that aren’t disciplined enough to resist the temptation of contact will certainly be punished, and we’ve seen the best of teams fall victim to that lure.
The Zons don’t have much of a chance of winning a pool play game, but they could surprise a team or two on day two.
Saturday Pool Play
0940 - DC Furies v Sacramento Amazons
1000 - Youngbloodz v San Diego Surfers
1240 - DC Furies v Youngbloodz
1300 - San Diego Surfers v Sacramento Amazons
1540 - DC Furies v San Diego Surfers
1600 - Youngbloodz v Sacramento Amazons
Pool A Preview
Pool B Preview
Pool C Preview