Article by Chad Wise | Originally published at usarugby.org
DES MOINES, Iowa – Defending USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Champions San Diego Surfers remain in the hunt for the 2015 title after a perfect 3-0 record in pool play and shutout defeat of Youngbloodz in the Cup Quarterfinal Saturday.
Each women’s pool featured an undefeated team, with Berkeley, Chicago, and American Rugby Pro joining San Diego in the Cup Quarterfinals as pool winners. San Diego’s day one kicked off bright and early with the first match at James W. Cownie Soccer Complex, a 29-0 win against Hawaii Harlequins, while defeats of Northern Virginia and Orlando sealed Pool A for the Surfers.
“We play all out, but we play strategically,” Surfer Phaidra Knight said prior to the team’s pre-Quarterfinal break. “We knew this last game [against Orlando] was probably going to be the hardest game of the day. We’re going to go rest and make sure we take care of ourselves, so we come out stronger; as strong as we can come out; as strong as we’ve been today.
“None of these teams are giving up. It’s strong competition across the brackets.”
Pool B was Berkeley’s to lose going into the weekend, but close matches to New York and ICEF Rugby, third and fourth in the pool, respectively, came as a surprise to both the All Blues and spectators in Iowa. ICEF, winless in three matches, was seconds away from an opening-match win against Youngbloodz before conceding a last-second try to draw. Youngbloodz ended pool play with a close loss to the All Blues, and the initial draw was enough for a second-place finish in the pool.
San Diego did not find any problems with Youngbloodz in the Cup Quarterfinal. Olympic Training Center resident Danielle Miano kicked off the scoring in just the third minute of the knockout round, and additional tries from Leilani Martin and Kyla Roth finished off the 19-0 win.
Northern Virginia’s lopsided loss to San Diego was reversed against its other two Pool A opponents, but a hungry Berkeley All Blues side saw to it that there would be a team from California in both of Sunday’s Cup Semifinals. Sarah Davis dotted down early before Meganne Atkins pulled one back for NOVA, but two second-half tries were enough for Berkeley’s Semifinal booking.
Life West left it late in its final pool match against Chicago, which had already dispatched of Rocky Mountain Squids and Philadelphia. The Gladiatrix brought a positive-69 point differential from two wins, but could not recover from a two-try deficit in the final minute of the match.
Chicago and Life West will both miss out on the Cup after dropping Quarterfinal matches to Seattle Saracens and American Rugby Pro, respectively. The group from Arkansas beat Seattle in Pool D to set the tone for its day, which also included defeats of star-studded Scion Sirens and Life West. Saracens conceded the first try in the Quarterfinal, but two tries from capped Eagles winger Kelsi Stockert and an individual score from Asinate Serevi pushed Seattle into the Semifinal.
The losers of the Cup Quarterfinals drop into the Plate bracket at Club 7s, which will kick off at 9:20 a.m. CT Sunday. ICEF defeated Orlando in the Bowl Quarterfinal for its first win and Scion rebounded from a disappointing pool round to rout Philadelphia, while New York will meet Rocky Mountain Squids on the other side of the Bowl bracket.
Saturday’s scores and Sunday’s knockout round brackets for both the men’s and women’s competitions are available on the Club 7s event page. Sunday’s action kicks off at 8 a.m. CT, and will be streamed live on USA Rugby TV.