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Belmont Shore claimed first blood in the SoCal 7s Series with an emphatic 52-7 victory over Santa Monica in the Cup Finals at OMBAC 7s Saturday. Shore played tremendous defense, yielding only two tries on the afternoon and piling up an average of 42 points per game.
Last year's fourth-place National finishers came into the tournament in good form having won both social tournament tune ups it participated in this summer. Belmont Shore has the luxury of a large squad including a number of players with international experience. Mike Te’o, Adam Sidall, Jack Tracy and Noah Phaun all bring a wealth of experience to the squad.
“For the first time in a long time we have a huge amount of numbers,” said Belmont Shore coach Ray Egan. “We have 30 to 35 players all vying for the top 12 spots. The competition is great.”
Belmont Shore came flying out of the gate, thumping OMBAC II 47-0 and beating the OC Ravens 26-0. With the two massive wins, Shore earned the top overall seed for the Cup rounds and a bye in the quarterfinals. A 42-5 win over the Arizona Academy punched a ticket to the Cup final against Santa Monica.
Santa Monica had a much tougher road to the final. The Dolphins beat San Diego 33-7 but fell to the Arizona Academy 24-12 in the second game of pool play. With the 1-1 record, Santa Monica finished third overall going into the Cup rounds. The Dolphins blanked Pasadena and knocked off the undefeated OMBAC 24-19 to secure a place in the final.
Belmont Shore continued its dominance in the championship game with a 52-7 victory. Paced by five tries from Te’o, Shore was firing on all cylinders. Despite the five scores from Te’o, Egan believed it was a good team win.
“It sounds like Mike created them but it was really was a team effort. Two of those tries came off turnovers from defense, so obviously, Mike coming from his sweeper position gives him the best opportunity to find space on those tries,” Egan added.
Egan praised both his team’s offensive and defensive pressure and structure throughout the day. In particular, Teo at sweeper and the former Scottish 7s player, Noah Phaun, led a stout Belmont squad.
“Our defense was superb throughout. Out big plus was our ability to defend for numerous phases within a system. Out system defense was brilliant yesterday. Our ability to hold onto the ball when we had possession, really starved the other team of possession, which in 7s, obviously, is crucial,” added Egan. “We we were able to rack up some scores against some really good competition.”
Belmont Shore struck first in the SoCal 7s series but there is still a lot to play for with three tournaments remaining. Egan admitted that although the scores were flattering yesterday, the competition will get tougher throughout the summer.
“I do not think we were that much ahead of everybody else but we probably controlled the ball a lot better than the other teams. I am sure later in the season those teams will be much better or much closer in close of scoring than what happened yesterday.”