This past Saturday in Milwaukee, Wisc., the Chicago Lions defeated NOVA to take 1st place at Lakefront 7’s, securing valuable points in the 2nd of 4 Midwest qualifiers.
The Lions’ practice alongside the men's team, and with the Lions men leading the Midwest series, it's a good place to be. Headed by captain Kate Daley, the 7s team is made up of a variety of players from Chicago and North Shore. With their eye on nationals, this weekend proves that the Lions have a strong shot at fending off some really competitive teams – including the Youngbloodz, who placed 3rd last year – for a berth to Pittsburgh in August.
Going into play, the Youngbloodz club was the favorite as number one seed, followed by Detroit. The Lions were seeded #3. Notable also was NOVA, the Mid-Atlantic team that put two sides in the tournament.
NOVA headed west this weekend to dip their toes in the waters of other regions, getting a feel for the competition they might face at nationals.
“Going into the tournament our coach, Dana Creager, told us her goal for the team was to play other high-level competition and continue our development towards nationals,” said player Meganne Atkins. “Like most teams, we tend to play the same teams each week and we don't get a chance to see other styles or other players.”
Clearly, NOVA is in it to win it this season – and though they do not function into the scoring for the qualifier, they proved they are ready to compete against the nations best.
In pool play, the Youngbloodz proved they were out for the kill in, sweeping with a 3-0-0 for a first-place seed in the playoffs. The Lions took down WWRFC and Sirens Black, tying NOVA in pool play to head into the playoffs as the 4th seed.
In the playoffs, the Youngbloodz faced the Lions in a close battle between two of the strongest teams in the region. The teams were tightly matched, each scoring just one try; however, a single successful conversion pushed the Lions ahead, bringing them to the finals.
The finals saw a rematch between the Lions and NOVA. Determined for retribution from the earlier draw, The Lions finished on top with a final score of 14-7.
“The Lions are a good, tough team,” says Atkins, “and even though we beat them earlier in the day, they got the best of us at the end.”
|Midwest Women 7s Series