Glendale entered the Women’s Club 7s Championship as a relative unknown. The team sported familiar athletes in Hannah Stolba and Bethany Zick, but the lack of 7s competition in the West handicapped the squad, and preparation was mainly focused internally.
But Glendale answered the call of national-level play and exited the tournament as plate champions. After going 2-2 on Saturday, the Raptors retaliated with a 12-5 victory against last year’s invitational finalist, San Diego, for the plate.
“The Lady Raptors had a great weekend of sevens in San Francisco,” Glendale Coach Laura Hertel. “The tournament was a good gauge to see where we stand among the other teams in the nation.”
The tournament began well with a 29-0 win over the Seattle Breakers and a solid performance against the DC Furies, though the contest ended in a 17-12 loss. The Surfers defeated Glendale soundly in the third match, 24-5, but the team rebounded with a 21-5 victory over Atlanta to end the day.
Their record afforded the team the third seed out of Pool A, and unfortunately for Glendale, that meant taking on eventual champion Berkeley in the quarterfinals. The All Blues continued its run to the title with a 27-5 victory, while the Raptors then set their sights on the plate.
The team responded in kind and edged Philadelphia 7-5 in the consolation semifinals. San Diego had bowed out of Cup contention when the Boston Belles beat the Surfers 7-0 in the quarterfinals. After the California team’s 24-10 win over Atlanta in the consolation semifinals, the two prepared for its fourth meeting in eight months.
Stolba was the first to illuminate the scoreboard, taking a fast break beneath the posts to set up Sara Edward’s conversion, 7-0. In the second half, San Diego pulled to within two, when the team quick-tapped through a penalty and spun it wide to Casey Fields, who got around the corner. The sideline conversion was too difficult an angle, and Glendale retained a 7-5 lead.
On the last play of the game, Glendale added some cushion when quick ball from a midfield ruck allowed the forwards to trek 40 meters downfield, just short of the tryline. Prop Taryn Brennan was there for the support and dove over the line for the try, 12-5
“We started the season with a great group of athletes who didn’t have a lot of sevens experience and we ended the season competing against some of the top teams in the nation,” Hertel added. “We have a great base to build on for next year.”