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Led by a stifling defensive effort, the Berkeley All Blues shut down the Seattle Breakers to win the Pacific Coast Women’s Club 7s Championships Saturday in Seattle.
The All-Blues pinned a young Seattle team in their 22 for most of the first
half, and took the lead when Irene Gardner pounced on a ball unattended at
the back of the ruck.
“I kind of checked with the ref first to make sure I was OK,” said Gardner. “And then I was just able to get it and find my way in.”
It was a brilliant run by Gardner. After that, Lucy Croy and Jill Whitfield scored tries to put Berkeley in a commanding lead of 17-0.
In the second half, Seattle’s offense was a little snappier, but Berkeley’s defense was awesome. Gardner and Ruth Bryson both scored to put the game away 31-7.
“We know when we play together defensively it makes everyone’s job easier because we can capitalize on it as a team,” said Gardner.
Berkeley actually lost to Seattle in pool play in a weird round-robin. Seattle tied ORSU 17-17 on a disputed play; ORSU had eight players on the field when they scored one of their tries. The referee penalized ORSU later on, but the try, and the score, stood. Going into the final match, Seattle was in danger of losing and ending up 1-1-1, with ORSU expected to potentially beat the Mudhens and end up 1-1-1 as well – then it would go to tiebreakers.
But Seattle, led by Nate Serevi, beat Berkeley to put aside any talk of tiebreakers.
ORSU went on to beat the Emerald City Mudhens to secure the #3 seed to the national championships. The Mudhens had a young team that relied too heavily on Eagle Ashley Kmiecik to score tries. ORSU used their personnel better.
Seattle goes to nationals as the #2, but the belles of the ball were the All Blues.
“Playing for all 20 minutes in the final showed how solid this team can be and will continue to be; to the last minute we’re going to be working our butts off,” said Gardner.
Pacific Coast Women Club 7s Scores
Final: Berkeley 31-5 Seattle
3rd: ORSU 22-10 Emerald City
ORSU 24-12 Emerald City
Seattle 24-19 Emerald City
Berkeley 25-10 ORSU
Berkeley 19-7 Emerald City
Seattle 17-17 ORSU
Seattle 17-12 Berkeley