One game into the second round of the Women’s Club 7s national championship, and we have a decent look at the teams’ relative strengths. No big surprises; all the teams that should have won did, and all but one game had a double-digit point differential.
The day began with a 28-0 forfeit win to Seattle in Pool A, which only has three teams due to multiple team withdrawals. Instead of kicking off at 9 a.m. the Breakers played their first game at noon against NOVA 2, which had started round one with a 17-0 loss to Chicago North Shore. Seattle looked good and produced a number of tries through the connectivity of Carrie White, Megan Sanders and Parisa Asgharzadeh. The effort resulted in a 32-5 win.
“At halftime, we talked about some things, supporting each other, and in the second half we progressed on that,” White said. “So it’s good to come out well, see some things you need to work on, and then continue to get better throughout the game.”
Seattle will see the 2-0 Chicago North Shore in round three. North Shore has a huge gap between their two games today, playing at 9:20 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. due to their forfeit game in round two. The Midwest champs looked good in round one, with Lauren Doyle highlighting the pitch with two tries and a conversion.
“I guess the negative can be that it takes some time to phase into it, not having that first game to get there mentally,” Seattle’s White said of only having two games today, “but obviously the positive is that you get some rest time.”
In pool B, the Boston Belles ran over Philadelphia, sending Emily Malkin (3), Ashley Clancy (2), Danielle Miano and Anne Venner over for tries. Jess Peterson slotted the extras for the 43-0 win. Amy Daniels did an excellent job in the middle, opening up space for the Belles’ burners. The other pool B game between the Youngbloodz and Emerald City Mudhens was much more entertaining. The Youngbloodz seemed to have the early and more consistent possession, and certainly had a more star-studded lineup. The Minneapolis side got out to a 15-0 lead on tries from Stacey Bridges, Rachel Lentsch and Christy Ringgenberg. But then back-to-back tries from Ashley Kmiecik and an April Fogel conversion produced a 15-12 game with only minutes left.
In the end, the Mudhens couldn’t sustain possession long enough to build a steady attack and the Youngbloodz held onto the narrow win.
There were two shutouts in pool C: Berkeley 33-0 over Belmont Shore and NOVA 39-0 Morris. The All Blues are the total package but coach Laura Cabrera was less than enthused by the team’s opening performance.
“It was very discombobulated,” Cabrera said. “There was a lot of contact that we don’t normally go into. Maybe it was just a lot of nerves and jitters they were trying to get out, but that’s not how we usually play. I’m glad we won but we need to pull it together and play more of our game, a running game.”
The All Blues ran into some trouble in the contact area, and Phoebe Boone was eventually yellow-carded for repeatedly “bear crawling” through the rucks. The man-down situation didn’t affect the scoreline, as Vix Folayan (3), Lucy Croy and Cynthia Wright built a big enough lead with their tries. For Belmont Shore, Fallbrook High School stars Megan Pinson and Casey Karl produced some exciting moments for the southern California team. Pinson in particular had a couple of breakaways and looked comfortable among her senior counterparts.
In pool D, the DC Furies and San Diego confirmed that they were the top teams in their group. DC put 29 points on Berkeley 2 and allowed just five, while the Surfers manhandled the Middlesex Falcons 41-5. Emilie Bydwell and Val Griffeth carved up the Falcons’ defense, and Ryan Carlyle did well to keep the ball alive at high speed supporting breakaways. For DC, Brenna Costello was the high scorer, and the addition of Ida Bernstein in the second half made for hotly contested restarts.
Round two is in the works, however, it won’t be until round three, when the pools’ top two seeds see each other, that the best games of the day will be seen. Looking forward to watching Seattle v North Shore, and NOVA 1 v Berkeley in particular.