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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.
|Pacific South 7s Series|