San Diego Surfers Repeat at Club 7s while Washington Athletic Club take Home Title of their Own.
The theme around Swope Soccer Village this weekend in Kansas City was that of appreciation for the noticeably competitive field in 2019. From the 32 teams split evenly between Men’s and Women’s squads, it was tough to pick a favorite from the bunch both before the tournament and even after day one pool play. When it was all said and done, San Diego Surfers would finish on top of Women’s competition for back-to-back titles, while Washington Athletic Club takes home the Men’s title.
Looking through Pool Play on Saturday, the Women’s field played out fairly even in Pool records, each finishing with an undefeated squad. Those being Life West, Scion Sirens, Berkeley All Blues and 2018 Champion San Diego Surfers. Berkeley of which didn’t concede a single point to their pool. The Men’s bracket on the other hand saw only Old Blue and Westside Ronins go 3-0 at the end of day one. Both with separate storylines as Old Blue enters its 17th year at Club 7s compared to the Ronins 4th. Old Blue showed its experience and MLR representation with the highest point differential over opponents in Pool play on the Men’s side.
As mentioned, Women’s Pool Play was owned by the Berkeley All Blues. With three straight shutouts and a tournament high point differential of 82 on day one, the Bay Area club strolled right into the knockout rounds. Despite the statistical victories, it was too early to label them favorites as Scion, Life West and San Diego proved just as dominant. With 15+ USA Eagles rostered across the four teams, it’s tough to argue.
Also moving on to the Cup Quarterfinals with 2-1 records respectively was Atlanta Harlequins, Phoenix 7s, Washington Athletic Club and Chicago Lions. WAC showing their fire power with over 30 points tallied in each win. Phoenix meanwhile climbs into the knockout rounds after an improved year from 2018 where they just missed out.
On the Men’s side, Park City Haggis, Atlanta Old White, Schylkill River and Life West similarly qualified behind their pool winners.
Sunday opened with a slight delay to kick off with thunderstorms in the morning, but the action quickly moved from the sky to the pitch. Schuylkill River surprised a few spectators with their hard-nosed play and seat in the Cup Semifinal. Going 2-1 in Pool play and winning the head-to-head playoff with Chicago Lions to earn the Pool B top spot set them up for a strong run to the semis.
Old Blue provided edge of your seat play all weekend just the same, beating Atlanta Old White by only two points in a quarterfinal firefight followed by a tight as ever loss to Washington Athletic Club, 10-5. WAC and Life West would of course be the followed storyline at tournaments end.
Life West featured a stock of domestic and international experience, as did WAC. When it was all said and done, WAC took home the title after a convincing 24-7 win. The final wasn’t alone in terms of convincing wins as they also shutout Chicago and narrowed Old Blue to reach the final match of the day. Eagle Alum Peter Tiberio led the group and eventually earned Player of the Final Honors.
Berkeley All Blues kept riding the wave from the day one with two wins in the quarterfinal and semifinal. This time around by less dominant score lines however, with a combined win margin of only 9 points in both matches. A ticket to the Cup final none the less.
The San Diego Surfers however, never let up. Undefeated through the weekend on a fast track to repeat titles. Women’s Eagles Sevens Alena Olsen showed up with veteran status since her debut on the World Rugby Sevens Series and it showed with poised play in the knockout rounds. Teigan MacDonald was awarded the Player of the Final after selection from Women’s Sevens Head Coach Chris Brown. Opening eyes along her side was Kayla Lawson who seemed to live in the try zone, particularly in the final, found her way on to the top talent radar.
In closing, the competition lived up to its merit for another year of the best sevens talent in the country clashing each summer. As we close the books on another year, USA Rugby would like to thank the city of Kansas City and the Kansas City Blues for their incredible hospitality.
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