Article by Alex Solomon | Originally published at usarugby.org
BLAINE, Minn. - The Atavus Academy zigged and zagged its way to six straight USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championship victories, including a 26-14 win in the Women's Cup Final over the San Diego Surfers.
Up against the two-time National Championship-winning Surfers, Atavus managed to put a converted try on the board before San Diego got its hands on the ball.
The Surfers finally got their chance to go on the attack following the restart, and the always-reliable Tia Blythe got her side into Atavus' half. From there, Eagle winger Kelsi Stockert vicously fended off a defender before scoring under the posts. Megan Foster converted the try, and the Final would go into the half tied, 7-7.
Atavus wisely got the ball wide to Erica Legaspi to start the second half, and the flyer made something out of nothing by turning the corner and outpacing multiple Surfers to the try zone to regain the lead, 14-7.
Momentum quickly shifted back into the grasps of the Surfers. Jennine Duncan's try-saving tackle on Stockert was deemed dangerous, and a yellow card was subsequently issued to Duncan before the referee ran under the posts to award a penalty try to San Diego, tying the ball game 14-all.
Atavus didn't appeared to be effected by playing a player down, though. Chelsey Birgisdóttir's cut out pass was timed perfectly and landed in the hands of a hard-charging Lauren Barber, who coasted into the try zone to regain the lead, 21-14. Duncan, back on the pitch from her spell in the naughty bin, took a good angle on the way to lead-padding try and a Club 7s National Championship victory, 26-14.
After falling to Atavus in the Semifinals, the Life West Gladiatrix rebounded well to win the Third-Place match against fellow Semifinalist the Scion Sirens. New York Rugby and the Glendale Merlins also came away from the Championship weekend that drew over 3,000 fans with hard-earned hardware. New York bested American Rugby Pro Training Center 19-12 in the Plate Final, while the Merlins won five consecutive games, including a victory against Orlando Rugby in the Bowl Final.