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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.
|Pacific South 7s Series|
|Place||Teams||OMBAC 7s||Beach City|