SCRFU Annual General Meeting will be held Sunday July 31st at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo. We strongly urge ask that each club have present at least TWO representatives. The meeting will begin promptly at 9am in the BGS Building 144. A link to the campus map is below. Look forwards to seeing you all there!
By Bret Anker
Belmont Shore took home the final qualifier at the Santa Monica 7s but the real prize of the weekend was the second spot to club 7s nationals. Santa Monica outlasted OMBAC in the all-important semifinals to clinch the spot in Colorado.
Six teams participated in the final qualifier with the top two advancing to the cup rounds from two groups of three. Belmont Shore earned the top spot in one pool with a pair of wins, including a 24-0 thumping of Santa Monica. The Dolphins won their other match, setting up a date with OMBAC in the semifinal.
Belmont escaped with a 21-20 victory over Los Angeles in one semifinal and was closer than the matchup between OMBAC and Santa Monica. The Dolphins played nearly an error free game, only allowing five points to OMBAC in 19-5 victory.
“Both teams came into that game needing to win to put themselves in position. It was very competitive. Santa Monica played simple nothing fancy from their side, making less mistakes than OMBAC did,” said Belmont Shore coach Peter Sio.
Santa Monica managed to claim a spot at nationals despite not winning a tournament this summer. A consistent top three finish in all the tournaments gave the Dolphins a ticket to nationals. Coming into the weekend, Santa Monica led OMBAC by three points in the series standings and managed to extend that lead with the semi final victory over the San Diego side.
“Santa Monica is a very good team. Young, young young team, there is maybe one or two older guys. They have done well this whole summer series and put themselves in position to go to nationals and make a name for themselves,” Sio said of Santa Monica.
Belmont Shore won the tournament with a 12-7 victory getting back into the win column after a disappointing third place finish last week. With this tournament victory, Belmont finished the campaign with three of four cup wins.
“We did alright, we were able to pull this one but it was really close. Obviously, there were two teams going into that last qualifier with a chance to go to nationals. They came with all guns blazing while we were trying to build for nationals. I am glad its over,” added Sio.
Belmont Shore has been a mainstay at nationals for years and had a pretty easy go of it in the SoCal Series. The competition will be much more fierce at nationals, however.
“One of the biggest challenges and what we were worried about was the competition hear versus nationals,” commented Sio. “The teams at nationals are different than they used to be because as we realized most teams are not club teams anymore. There are quite a few ODA’s out there and that has raised the bar to a whole new level of competition.”
Belmont Shore and Santa Monica are sure to be tested when they head to Colorado for the August 13-14th national championships.
SD Surfers and Tempe Represent So Cal at National 7s
by Jackie Finlan
The pools for the Women's Club 7s National Championship have been adjusted to account for the withdrawal of Hawaii, which had held the #12 seed and was placed in Pool D. The Pacific North received the vacated spot, and therefore the pools needed realignment.
POOL A is still headlined by 2015 champion American Rugby Pro Training Center (ARPTC), which won the Red River conference Saturday after a clean sweep of the region's qualifiers. The team features many familiar faces, including Eagles Ashley Perry and Jess Wooden, '15 returners, as well as a trio of New Zealand players. How has ARPTC faired outside of the Red River? The Academy side won the Cape Fear 7s 19-7 over the Scion Academy.
Also in Pool A is Atlantic North champion Old Blue, which is the summer home to many Northeast Academy players. South runner-up Charlotte won its berth to the national championship in its first season of competitive 7s, and the Midwest runner-up will be named Saturday.
POOL B is half-full. NOVA and Boston finished runner-up in the Mid-Atlantic (MAC) and Atlantic North, respectively. The former dropped a competitive championship match, 22-12, to Scion in the final MAC qualifier Saturday. Boston played an even closer game, 10-5, against Old Blue in the Atlantic North final two weekends ago. This Saturday, the Midwest and Pacific North will determine their respective champions, and they'll both head to Pool B.
POOL C is an all-West affair. Pacific South #1 San Diego Surfers comes in as the #3 seed overall and will take on the Frontier's Glendale and Red River runner-up Austin Valkyries. The Surfers won the Santa Monica 7s last weekend, while Austin continued to refine its game against ARPTC during the Red River's third and final qualifier Saturday. Glendale got the uncontested bid out of the Frontier. The fourth spot will be filled by the Pacific Northwest's third team, decided on Treasure Island this weekend.
The Pacific North's runner-up will headline POOL D and be joined by MAC champion Scion, Pacific South runner-up Tempe, and South champion Orlando, which repeated as the region's best team after a 15-12 win over Charlotte in Saturday's title match.
Belmont Shore took home its second consecutive Pacific South tournament with a 26-14 victory over the Orange County Ravens at the Beach City 7s. The SoCal side has won both qualifiers to date and is in good position to advance to USA Rugby Club 7s Nationals.
Eight teams descended on San Diego with the core group of teams remaining intact. The teams were divided into two pools of four teams but each team only played two pool matches before being reseeded for the quarterfinals.
“It sucks because we don’t have the numbers of teams wanting to qualify,” Belmont Shore head coach Peter Sio said of the tournament format. “The mindset was just to get there and what they gave us just go with it.”
Like last week, the OC Ravens dominated pool play and earned the top seed in the quarterfinals. With the unique scheduling, Belmont Shore, Santa Monica and OMBAC all went undefeated in the pool stages.
All four of the undefeated teams one their respective quarterfinal matches. The matches were all much closer, however, as LA and Pasadena nearly knocked off OMBAC and Belmont Shore respectively.
The semifinals saw a pair of close contests with the Ravens edging OMBAC 21-17 and Belmont Shore defeating Santa Monica 24-5.
After a strong showing last week that resulted in a semi final finish, the OC Ravens took it one step further reaching the final. The Ravens faced a formidable opponent, however, and came up short 26-14.
“It was a very good OC Ravens, an improved team. It is the same squad that they have had for the last three years. They have grown and started to know each other well. For us to win that game it took a disciplined squad, take less penalties and committ less turnovers,” Sio added.
The Ravens got on the board first off a missed tackle and gave Belmont Shore a tough go in the final. Belmont responded, however, outscoring its opponent 26-7 for the remainder of the match.
“What I was preaching to the boys all tournament was just be patient and your opportunities will come…The boys have a week of experience in now and they saw what was coming next and they held together and pulled it off,” said Sio.
With the second cup victory, Belmont Shore is in a strong position to qualify for nationals. For Sio, the remaining two tournaments are about clinching the spot and building depth for a deep run at nationals.
“The next step is to continue to get better and the challenge for me is trying to qualify as many guys as we can…Right now the focus is getting a lot of young guys playing time and trying to qualify a bigger pool of players,” Sio concluded.
The next tournament will take place on July 16th at the Sunsplash 7s.
After winning the top spot in the Pacific South Series last year, Belmont Shore got off a to a great start in the 2016 campaign. Belmont capped off a strong opening performance at the OMBAC 7s with a 28-7 victory over Glendale.
The Pacific South will feature four tournaments with the aggregate winner and 2nd place finisher receiving an automatic qualifier berth to club 7s nationals in August.
In this rendition, nine teams participated in the tournament with the top eight making the cup rounds. The teams were divided into three pools of three teams.
Belmont Shore started off pool play with a tight win over out of region Glendale and topped the San Diego Tunas to win the group. However, since Belmont did not light it up on the score sheet, the reigning regional champs went into the playoff rounds with the 3rd seed.
Santa Monica cruised through pool play, garnering the top seed while the Orange County Ravens surprised OMBAC in the final pool to clinch 2nd overall going into the cup rounds.
The Cup rounds saw some upsets with Glendale reaching the final from the 5th position. The Raptors nipped OMBAC and edged Santa Monica en route to a date with Belmont. Shore won comfortably over Pasadena and a with a one try victory over OC, it made the finals.
Belmont Shore locked up the 22 series points by virtue of the fact that Glendale competes in the Frontier 7s series. Nevertheless, it was a good test for the Socal teams this weekend.
“The Glendale Raptors showed up so it kind of gave us another test and another look,” said Belmont Shore coach Peter Sio. “Seeing the SoCal teams every weekend, it is always good to see an outsider.”
The final featured a rematch of pool play. Belmont defeated the Raptors 14-10 in its first game of the tournament but this match proved to be much less competitive. After spending a lot of the day defending, Belmont was able to get off to a strong start in the final.
“Throughout the tournament yesterday we played close with most of the teams and that comes from having to play defense most of the games. Almost every game we played we happened to come out on the winning side but we played defense 70 percent of the time. We barely had the ball and that speaks volumes about how the boys played defense. In the finals, though we got 60 to 70 percent of the possession so that really helped. It speaks how they can be if they win ball and retain ball retention,” Sio elaborated.
Shore scored two quick tries and Glendale was unable to recover from the early deficit. In the end, the California team outlasted Glendale 28-7 to win the opening tournament.
“It was a good day for us. A good start of the season, the competition was good and that is what we need….It is always tough when you play that first tournament because you don’t know guys are bringing to the table but overall it was good,” Sio concluded.
By: Jackie Finlan
Southern California was treated to a fantastic DI club final, as reigning champion Santa Monica took on standings leader Belmont Shore last weekend. The teams had split regular-season games, and the rubber match was to determine which team would represent the region at the DI national quarterfinals in Tucson.
“When we lost to them a month ago it was not under the best circumstances,” said Santa Monica coach Erica Sin. “We thought there were a few questionable things, but it’s always a physical game. They have continually gotten better as we’ve gotten to know them, but we knew we could have beaten them the last time and wanted to prove it this time – we both wanted it.”
Familiar with each other’s attributes, both teams crafted specific game plans to nullify each other’s relative strengths. For Belmont Shore, that meant pressuring Santa Monica’s dynamic backline, in particular outside center Whitney Vance.
“They did a lot of work in trying to shut down Whitney, who is one of our best players, but fortunately we have a lot of talented people in the backline and made the adjustments,” Sin said.
Alex Walker stood out. Strong, athletic, fast, the wing is difficult to take down, and the Back of the Match proved as much while scoring four tries on the day.
Both teams showcased good finishers on the sideline, and Belmont Shore wing Harley Moeller kicked off the scoring five minutes in. Outside center Elizabeth Simmons kicked the first of her three conversions for the 7-0 lead.
The Dolphins responded with back-to-back tries from No. 8 and Forward of the Match April Rodriguez (whose magic power, according to Sin, is producing ball out of the messiest situations) and Walker, before inside center Marci Flores restored the Land Sharks’ lead to 12-10 with a try.
Two minutes later, Dolphins wing Hannah Han scored, and Vance’s conversion gave Santa Monica a 17-12 lead. Although fullback Emily Rodin tied it up 17-all at minute 32, the Dolphins would not trail for the rest of the match.
Walker put down two more tries before the half, and then Vance kicked off the second stanza with a five-pointer. Santa Monica led 32-17 after 45 minutes. During the next 20 minutes, Belmont Shore tallied two converted tries, coming to within one point with 15 minutes remaining.
“They were down by [one] with seven minutes left, and they went for a penalty kick. Their kicker had been money all day,” Sin remembered. “They missed it and we capitalized on that and scored. That cushioned our lead and more or less sealed the deal for us.”
Walker did the honors in minute 75 for the 37-31 win and spot at nationals.
Approximately three-quarters of last year’s championship team is still active, and it boasts a chemistry that is most visible in the backline. The pack has put in a lot of work and is at a place where the scrums and set plays are well set. This spring the forwards have enjoyed a lot of progress.
“We’re going to Tucson with a full roster and high hopes, but it’ll be tough to play Seattle first,” Sin said of the quarterfinal match-up. “Obviously, they’re an elite team and it’s going to be a challenge. We played them last year on the second day when we had some injuries, so we’ll be able to play them with fresh legs. Our goal is to play the best [teams].
“We have to work on not being reactive to everything. We need to do a better job of anticipating,” the coach thought about the next two weeks of training. “That’s one of the hardest things – not just watching what’s happening in front of you but seeing what’s coming up. We just need to play our game as best as possible, and for us, it will start from defense. We need to smother Seattle as much as possible.”
On the other side of the bracket, Red River champion Austin plays the Frontier’s Denver Black Ice. For a full look at the DI national championship bracket, click here.
By Jackie Finlan
Ventura and O.P. Lightning met each other early in the DII Pacific South season. The Tucson side triumphed 5-0 and hopes for a rematch followed both teams into the league final. The Outlaws traveled to Arizona with 16 players and finished the game with 13 on the pitch, but, remarkably, won 28-18 for a berth to the DII national quarterfinals.
Numbers, especially on the road, has been an on-going issue for Ventura. Player-coaches Julie Gould and Danielle Robottom and lock Corey Lott just focused on building a Tucson-tailored game plan based on the players they had.
On Saturday, the Lightning struck first, as Jessica Szakacs dotted down four minutes in for the 5-0 lead.
“They definitely put us on our heels a bit, but we just shook it off,” Gould said. “The rest of the half was more in our favor, and we had some good momentum into the half.”
Inside center Gould scored Ventura’s first three tries, two in the first half. With scrumhalf Desiree Leaupepe’s conversions, the Outlaws were up 14-5 at the break. And that’s when things started to get difficult. Wing Jill Brownfield had been subbed out with a knee injury early in the first half and lone sub Kimberly Escobar took her place. During the break, wing Suzy Kwon felt dizzy and had to come off. Down to 14 players, Ventura was still able to score – another Gould/Leaupepe combo – five minutes in for the 21-5 lead.
During the third quarter, Leaupepe took a knock and was a little wobbly, so the referee ended the scrumhalf’s day.
“It’s hard to lose players, especially in a championship match, but you don’t want to mess with injuries,” Gould said. “It could have negatively affected us, but it just added fuel to the fire. Everyone picked up slack and played with so much heart and determination."
Flyhalf Katie Sellers moved to scrumhalf and Gould slid over to #10. Robottom rotated from No. 8 in the scrum to inside center to jumper in the lineout depending on which side of the ball Ventura was contesting. Ventura played without a strongside wing, opting for the weakside coverage given Lightning’s proclivity for short-side attacks.
“Our style of defense – a smoke defense – accounted for not having numbers,” the co-captain explained. “You slide out, shift them to the sideline, and don’t play aggressively until you have matched numbers.”
Lightning scrumhalf Ria Joseph took advantage of a gap for a breakaway try, and inside center Amber Jones added two penalties within 10 minutes of each other. Ventura flanker Vanessa Alvarez broke up the scoring with the Outlaws’ fourth try, and Sellers added a conversion. Even though the home side had the extra coverage, MVP Alvarez drew the defense with hard runs, as did outside center Yui Kawakatsu out wide. Both played aggressive games.
All scoring ended by minute 65. somehow, Ventura kept O.P. off the scoreboard for the 28-18 win.
“It’s hard to single out players in a match like this,” Gould considered outstanding performances on the day. “When you’re down to 13 players, you can’t depend on any one person. I can’t take away from the fact that everyone played with everything.
“Of all the ways to win, this is just perfect,” Gould said. “This is the kind of momentum and mental strength you want to see at the end of the season and going into regionals. We always had expectations of returning to nationals, despite finishing third in the league, playing an undefeated club and having to travel. We had the confidence. We knew we just had to do the work.”
Ventura will return to Tucson for the third time this spring for the national quarterfinals May 21-22. At this juncture, the goal is to travel with numbers.
“Coming with 16 and going down to 13 – in an emergency situation, we were able to make it work,” Gould said. “We won’t be able to do that at regionals. It’s a concern. We haven’t had the same starting lineup in any match, but we also don’t depend on any one person for a victory. Our expectations remain the same.”
Fall General Meeting Confirmed. Sunday 10/5/14 at 9am until 1sh... Location should be confirmed this week and we will re broadcast again.
7s Representatve/ Web Master
Phone: 562 548 0068
South District President/ Chairman Disciplinary Committee
North District President
WOMEN'S D2 REP
MEN'S D1 REP
MEN'S D2 REP
MEN'S D3 REP/COMPETITION CHAIR
The Southern California Rugby Football Union (SCRFU), is the governing body of rugby in Southern California, and represents the union of clubs at the USA Rugby.