by Alyssa Baccarella, Lisa Dombroski, and Vic Abrenica
Summer 2015 was a busy one for the All Blues, as the team competed in several qualifiers on the road to Club 7s Nationals, as well as hosting its own first annual 7s tournament. This year’s 7s team was coached by Golden Gate player Jake Nelson, who returned to coach the All Blues for his second consecutive 7s season. He was helped by assistant coaches Lisa Dombroski and Julie Kieu. Led by captains Sarah Davis and Frances Wehrwein, the team started off the season strong winning Vancouver 7s on June 20th. The team faced off against stiff Canadian competition, losing their first game of the day to Fetch Rugby, but getting redemption against them with a definitive 21-5 win in the final.
The team had strong showings with steady improvement in the two NorCal series tournaments. In round-robin format, the All Blues took on San Jose, SF Golden Gate, the Sacramento Amazons and Life West. Although the All Blues won decisive victories against the former three competitors in both tournaments, they fell both times in hard-fought games to Life West. The All Blues 7s team is young, and has experienced significant turnover from past years but still managed to hit its stride at just the right time. Tries on the team were led by Lina Lomu on the wing, with conversions distributed among Sarah Davis, Jessica Turner and Jill Whitfield.
At Tacoma 7s, the qualifier for Nationals, the team won against Tacoma in their first match of the day, but suffered a narrow loss to ORSU 14-15, and then a loss to Seattle 5-12 in the semis. The rematch vs. ORSU was a decisive 15-0 win to the All Blues, and with that, the team won the bid to Nationals. Women’s National Club 7s, featuring the top 16 women’s teams in the country, was held in Des Moines, Iowa on August 8-9.
Starting as 15th seed and with only 9 healthy and available players, the All Blues faced a tough start at Nationals. But the team, undaunted, prevailed and swept the competition on their first day, winning all four of their matches against NY (17-12), ICEF (21-17), Youngbloodz (10-5), and NoVA (17-5). The games were peppered with brilliant moments from each player, including a brilliant intercept by Sarah Davis in the game against NoVA, and a stoked Frances Wehrwein ending the day with six tries. On the second day however, the All Blues suffered losses in both their games with Seattle, and against the previous year’s cup winners, the San Diego Surfers. Regardless, the All Blues concluded National Club 7s with a solid fourth place finish—not bad for a 15th seed!
The inaugural All Blues 7s tournament, hosted July 18th at San Jose State, was a huge success for the club. The competition drew eight women’s teams, and featured local teams as well as the San Diego Surfers. The All Blues A side beat out the Renegades, the Amazons and Surfers B, before falling to Life West 3 tries to 1 in the semi-final. They came back with a win over Surfers B to take 3rd place. The All Blues Social side also had a great showing, playing some good rugby with steady improvement throughout the day. The tournament was won by Life West, which won handily in the final against an injury-weakened Surfers A side.
What an action-packed summer, All Blues Nation! Stay tuned for the latest as we dive right into WPL season starting this Tuesday, August 18. We hope to see you on the pitch!