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Mutual Respect, Rivalry as Fallbrook Edges View Park in SoCal

HS Girls

Mutual Respect, Rivalry as Fallbrook Edges View Park in SoCal

Fallbrook girls, in red, and View Park, in white and red, pose post-match.

Fallbrook defeated View Park to win the Southern California Girls 7s championships this past weekend.

For both teams, this was an indication of good things to come. View Park won the Los Angeles city sectionals in the first year such a competition was held. They then went on to play in San Diego last weekend. Both View Park and Fallbrook won their first three games, and then Fallbrook, the San Diego champs, took the final.

View Park junior flyhalf India Horn scored seven tries in the final tournament, while senior captain Denecia Fernandes scored four tries. Junior prop Alaya McIntyre stood out on defense with crushing tackles all day. 

But Fallbrook’s experience and structure won out.

“With 7s our main thing is we have a good attack game plan and a good defensive game plan,” said Fallbrook co-coach Marin Pinnell. “On defense it was about staying in your channel and closing the door, marking up right and shutting them down from there. On attack, good support and playing off one another was important. Between those two, everybody got to know the plan but it was flexible and allowed them to play their game. Players could do what they wanted to do but they had a good support structure as well.”

In general 7s is a fairly unforgiving game and a missed tackle usually leads to points for the other team. Against View Park, that was especially true. 

Leading the way for Fallbrook was, of course, Lilly Durbin, who has already played for the USA and is currently in Japan playing with the USA Falcons. But it certainly wasn’t about one well-known player. Destiny Arena was a physical presence, was strong in contact, and put opponents under pressure.

“Lilly has an excellent kickoff, so she was able to kick it really high and we’d get in under it and get the ball back,” said Pinnell. “She and Destiny both did an excellent job of leading by doing - making tackles and distributing and breaking the attack line.”

But the player of the day may well have been Kim Mendoza, an intense presence at the breakdown and one who has developed some confidence running with the ball. Lily Hernandez and Madeline Ames both played well at scrumhalf. Ames, who has been at Atavus camps and is still developing, made a huge play late in the final, sacrificing herself to not only save a try, but set up the attack for Fallbrook to counter and score.

For Fallbrook, it was yet another championship on the way to pushing for some 15s honors. For View Park, it was a step forward, and some motivation to keep going.

Both View Park and Fallbrook will be at the Las Vegas Invitational. Fallbrook will be in the Girls Open and Girls u16s 7s tournaments, View Park will send just the one team to the Girls Open.