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Danville Survives Bishop O'Dowd

HS Girls

Danville Survives Bishop O'Dowd

Both Danville and Bishop O’Dowd headed into their Northern California Girls HS bout coming off large wins, and with an eye toward being top in the Bay Conference.

Previously, Danville notched a 68-0 win over Clayton Valley, and Bishop O’Dowd took home a 52-17 victory against the Crusaders. Danville was favored, but in the end Bishop O’Dowd put up more of a fight than expected.

“Bishop O’Dowd stayed with us because the new players haven’t learned to play as a team. We have growing pains," Danville coach Bob Stephen said. "Hats off to Bishop O’Dowd. Their rucks and aggressiveness were phenomenal. We didn’t come in as hungry,”

“The goal is to play at the best of their ability," Bishop O’Dowd coach Julia Diskin added. "We aren’t always playing to win score wise. It’s how we execute.  If we play okay against them, that means a lot to us. We did a really good job meeting expectations.”

With Danville’s more experienced players, like All Americans Daisy Manoa and Mata Hingano, Danville and Bishop O’Dowd both expected the match up to go Danville’s way. What neither team expected was that at halftime, the score read 17-14.

“Our forwards are solid. Our backs need some work when it comes to defending, especially on kicks. There also wasn’t a lot of looking left and right to see if someone was in a better position, and the girls would just run into contact,” Stephen said.

“There was a physicality drop off in the second half," Diskin said. "We need to work on playing through the physical and mental fatigue.”

Bishop O’Dowd captain and No. 8 Bianca Ortiz-Pallen put in countless hours of work to build camaraderie throughout her team. For her, it isn’t just about the game but to play and score for each other. Flanker Sharyse Mayer also stepped it up this game. Her physicality, fitness, and natural leadership on the field was a significant factor in her team’s success during the first half.

Danville scrumhalf Whitney Zuniga is a particular player that impressed Stephen. “For the Bishop O’Dowd game, she played outside center. But, Whitney was a winger that stepped in as our scrumhalf. If there was an award for most improved player, she would get it.”

Stephen was not pleased with Danville’s first-half performance and if the end goal is to win a national championship by beating Fallbrook, the players are going to need some work. They beat Fallbrook once, and it gave Danville a challenge to set its sights on. For Bishop O’Dowd, the goal is a bit different.

“It’s great to win, but as long as we’re playing to our standard, record isn’t a factor. They just want to play rugby, and I want to inspire them to love rugby past high school,” Diskin said.

Next up on Danville’s plate is Pleasanton and for Bishop O’Dowd, it’s Clayton Valley.

In other NorCal News, Lady Cougars lost to Sierra Foothills, 52-10. Prior to that, Sierra Foothills lost 45-15 to Chico Oaks, Mother Lode won 53-10 against Lady Cougars, Land Park Harlequins won 36-22 against Renegade, Pleasanton lost to the Amazons, 57-19, and Vacaville won 79-5 against Solo Falcons.