Dragons Soar to PA 7s Title
Dragons Soar to PA 7s Title
Doylestown’s done it again. The reigning girls high school 7s champ has added another title to the record books, going undefeated at last weekend’s state championship and defeating Downingtown 12-5 in the final.
Seven teams convened at the final stop of the fall 7s series, and Doylestown’s day began against the Valkyries. Size was an influential factor in the first half, and the Valkyries used that advantage to control the first seven minutes.
“We struggled winning ball during scrums and at the breakdown, and thus the score was tight at halftime,” Doylestown coach Stacy Mancuso explained. “After moving some players around and making some changes to the lineup, we were able to cause turnovers and find the open gaps."
Tori Robinson, Olivia Searfass, Paige Krahling, and Mia Walsh were instrumental in fortifying the defense, and their discipline helped the Dragons to pull out the win.
Round 2 opponent Kiski Valley sported some size as well, but now Doylestown knew how to counteract such disadvantages. The challenge, however, lied in the absence of a few key players, who were being rested for future games. Novices Kaylie Hosinger, Kylie Corless, and Keelie Boell didn't succumb to the pressure and put in solid performances during Doylestown's second win.
“I was impressed with the intensity the Kiski girls displayed on the field,” Mancuso praised. “We had to step up our level of play, making sure to avoid contact whenever possible. Once we used the space and our speed, the game began to change."
West Shore awaited in the semifinals. The team was missing impact player Daz Williams, who competed for the High School All Americans in their first-ever 15s tour last summer. Williams is a senior in high school but missed the age cut-off per Rugby PA regulations.
“West Shore's offense was absolutely compromised with the absence of Williams,” Mancuso confirmed. “We were able to control the field from the kickoff and played smart rugby for 14 minutes."
Championship MVP Alex DiMarco had an excellent game, exposing gaps in the defense and setting up teammates for try-scoring opportunities. Sophia Pogorzelski took advantage of those linebreaks and scored two tries in the second half.
Downingtown, a familiar foe, was ready for the final, and the opening two minutes were marked by stout defense. But then Doylestown's Sam Kuhns fed Alex Pogorzelski for a 50-meter break and try. Two minutes later, DiMarco set up a penalty play and put the ball in Pogorzelski's hands for another try and 12-0 lead at half.
Downingtown snapped the shutout with a try early in the second half, and only outstanding defense from Kuhns and DiMarco kept the opposition out of the try zone for the remainder of the game. The grit paid off, and Doylestown was once again named state champion.
“Overall, I was impressed with the level of play by all of the teams who participated,” Mancuso summarized. “Every team showed improvement from where they were months ago when we first faced them in early September.
“Although there was concern early in the season that Doylestown may not be as strong as last year, the girls worked extremely hard over the last few months to improve their game individually and as a team,” Mancuso added. “It is always a proud moment to see all of the hard work pay off. We are excited to see where the 15s season takes us.”