Dick’s Sporting Goods Park hosted the 2016 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championships, where Scion Rugby Academy won their first National title.
The Sunday’s Semifinals started with Scion dropping 2015 Champion American Rugby Pro Training Center to the third-place match.
The women of Old Blue of New York stunned 2015 runners-up Seattle Saracens in the first round of knockout play to advance to the Semifinal matchup with Oregon Rugby Sports Union, and sprinted to a 10-0 lead. ORSU overcame two first-half yellow cards for a 12-10 halftime score, but Old Blue scored an early try in the second frame and held on for the 17-12 victory.
National Development Academies ARPTC and Scion were top seeds from their respective pools when they entered the Cup round, and were evenly matched in a high-paced Semifinal. Eagle Samantha Pankey scored the only try of the first half and capped Women’s Eagles Sevens Ashley Perry ticked the scoreboard for ARPTC for a 12-7 Scion lead that held through the remaining minutes. The Little Rock, Ark., outfit defeated ORSU to take the tournament’s bronze medal.
The Cup Final was less dramatic, as a first-minute try for Scion was followed by a Pankey fend and Saskia Morgan try two minutes after the first. The scoring did not come from Old Blue’s side of the pitch through 20 minutes of play despite Pankey receiving a yellow card in the final two minutes from time, and Emily Fulbrook ended an extended defensive sequence with an interception and try for a 38-0 score at full time.
Scion completes the weekend with a 6-0 record and two trophies in tow. Morgan’s performance throughout the side’s campaign at Club 7s earned her recognition as Most Valuable Player not six weeks after her debut international cap at the Women’s Rugby Super Series.
“We had a lot of players at Super Series, so when they came back and started playing we were peaking by the time we got to Nationals,” Scion Coach Joanne Liu said. “We were ramping up to this the whole time. We had some awesome tests in the Mid-Atlantic with playing teams like Northern Virginia and Philadelphia every week; it helped us prepare for this. Not all of these teams get competition week after week like we do.
“I won’t say it wasn’t difficult, but our girls had the right chemistry, worked hard, and prepared well for it. I’m happy to see them win.”