NorCal Wins Southwest All Stars
NorCal Wins Southwest All Stars
Despite the frustrating lead-up to the Southwest Regional Cup Tournament (read more), Southern California hosted a top-notch girls all-star competition that brought together arguably the two best high school select sides in the country. Alex Williams did a great job of maintaining the professionalism an event like this deserves, and was also very attentive to team needs.
“The heat was a big factor,” NorCal coach Rod Chance said. “On Saturday, it was 106, and it cooled down to 102 on Sunday. Alex Williams, the tournament director, did a really good job of addressing the heat. There were a bunch of ice baths and industrial swamp coolers at the fields, referee tents, and first-aid area. The matches were pushed up as early as possible, so we did not play in the hottest part of the day. Due to her preparation, I don’t know of any heat-related medical issues.”
Two 45-minute games per division were contested on Saturday, and they served as exhibition games that allowed the second side to bank significant playing time. The varsity teams split their games – NorCal won 12-5, and SoCal won 19-15 – but the Griffins JV team won both games by a combined 75-0.
On Sunday, the JV teams led off finals’ day. The game was more competitive than its abbreviated predecessors, and with 10 minutes remaining, NorCal trailed the Griffins by only seven points.
“For the JV team, 15-year-old Brianna Vasquez, with her snake-like running, was the highest scorer of the tournament,” SoCal coach Ravi Perera said of the Fullerton player, who also trained at the OTC during the pre-NACRA camp. “She scored 11 tries and five conversions, and was named JV Back MVP of the tournament.”
Vasquez picked up the intensity in the waning moments of the game to help SoCal to a 37-15 victory.
A similar point differential evolved in the varsity match. SoCal was missing Fallbrook flyer Lilly Durbin, who suffered an injury on Saturday. Fellow High School All American Michel Navarro had left the Saturday games early, too, but returned to the pitch to complete an awesome loose forward pairing with Emma Workman. Tanner Quinto was also resilient on defense, but her low tackling wasn't enough to subdue NorCal.
Ana Polaulu led the NorCal forward attack and eventually earned Varsity Forward of the Tournament. The No. 8 worked nicely with flanker Bianca Ortiz-Pallen of Bishop O'Dowd. Scrumhalf Maryjane Pasioles managed the game with poise, employing her years with the Amazons and select sides like Atlantis to keep a fast game in the works. Pasioles was named Varsity Back of the Tournament, making for an Amazon sweep of the varsity MVP awards.
The Pleasanton pair of flyhalf Teigan MacDonald and inside center Emily Roskopf put the backline on the front foot, and Amazon Melelea Tausinga was tough to drag down at outside center. Wing Kiana Saffings and fullback Alysha McMoore added a nice dose of speed out wide.
“The varsity match was played with intensity from the kickoff,” Chance reported. “The Griffins are very well coached and play a hard-hitting, complete game. The teams matched up well in the forwards. Every tackle had to be sealed off or the counter-rucks would prevail. The difference was the pace and ball skills of the NorCal backline. They were relentless, going into contact with force, and then adding a few more positive yards before offloading. The continuous pressure stretched the organized Griffins backline.”
Halfway through the second half, NorCal started attacking through the center of the pitch, starting at its 22 meter and ending with a try in the left corner. Tausinga slotted a brilliant sideline conversion; meanwhile two SoCal Griffins laid injured on the pitch. One player had broken her leg and the ambulance was summoned.
“When the ambulance arrived on the pitch, all the players from both teams circled the injured girl, clapping and wishing her well,” Chance said. “It was another one of those beautiful paradoxical moments. The respect, camaraderie and good wishers from sisters, and then back to the match.”
At this juncture, the Griffins were down by four tries but fought until the final whistle and were rewarded with a last-minute try. NorCal prevailed 34-17. Check out some great photos of the final courtesy of Kern Rugby Festival.
It was a good weekend of rugby, and a bunch of Stars & Stripes invites are bound to come out of it. Next year, one can assume the region will be looking to combine efforts with either the Pacific Northwest or West for next year’s all-star tournament.
|Head coach: Rod Chance|
|Assts: Steve Lopez, Aoibheann Cline|
|Caroline Lomu (Danville)||Eight||Samantha Gonzales (Bishop O'Dowd)||Flanker|
|Juniors||Victorria Heagy (Renegade)||Flanker|
|Victoria Ackerson (Lancers)||Prop||Savanna Lindwall (Mother Lode)||Prop|
|Siale Alatini (Danville)||Lock||Shariyf Mayer (Bishop O'Dowd)||Lock|
|Jaida Kafovalu (Amazon)||Flanker||Julie Nguyen (Clayton Valley)||Flanker|
|Kyra Leonard (Dixon)||Hooker||Briana Nicol-Doucet (Lancers)||Flanker|
|Daisy Manoa (Danville)||Lock||Taylor Smith (Rio Linda)||Lock|
|Bianca Ortiz-Pallen (Bishop O'Dowd)||Lock||Fifita Uhatafe (Lancers)||Eight|
|Ana Polaulu (Amazon)||No. 8||Sophmores|
|Stephanie Punty (Clayton Valley)||Prop||Emily Aston (Pleasanton)||Flanker|
|Dominique Tafao-Braganza (Danville)||Prop||Nadia Jones (Mother Lode)||Prop|
|Kristina Tomelloso (Dixon)||Prop||Grace Martin (Pleasanton)||Lock|
|Samantha Zamarripa (Rio Linda)||Prop||Adryanna Ruiz-Mendoza (Bishop O'Dowd)||Lock|
|Gabriellelani Finau (Amazon)||Flanker||Katrina Weinstein (Pleasanton)||Hooker|
|Elysha Clark (Chico Oaks)||Flanker||Backs|
|Edna Manoa (Danville)||Lock||Freshmen|
|Taylor Coleman (Bullard)||Wing||Rebecca Dietz Coope (Clayton Valley)||Fullback|
|Jessica Gonzales (Bishop O'Dowd)||Wing|
|Backs||Katelyn Hart (Pleasanton)||Wing|
|Sophomores||Tiffany Hernandez (Clayton Valley)||Inside Center|
|Maryjane Pasioles (Amazon)||Scrumhalf||Elizabeth Navarro (Clayton Valley)||Inside Center|
|Juniors||Lexia Reynolds (Rio Linda)||Outside Center|
|Alysha McMoore (Amazon)||Flyhalf||Jocelyn Silver (Renegade)||Flyhalf|
|Melelea Tausinga (Amazon)||Fullback||Sophmores|
|Kathlena Truong (Alameda)||Wing||Sabrina Kim (Pleasanton)||Outside Center|
|Seniors||Annika O'Connell (Chico Oaks)||Inside Center|
|Teigan MacDonald (Pleasanton)||Flyhalf||Alysia Thao (Amazon)||Wing|
|Carlene McPolin (Silicon Valley)||Fullback|
|Emily Roskopf (Pleasanton)||Center|
|Kiana Saffings (Amazon)||Center|
|Head coach: Ravi Perera|
|Forwards: Craig Pinnell|
|Backs: Dan Klein, Marin Pinnell|
|Specialty: Hannah Lockwood|
|Destiny Arena (Fallbrook)||Taylor Alcantar|
|Kayla Canett (Fallbrook)||Chanlar Clark|
|Angel Cibrian (Aztecs)||Isabella Devore|
|Meagan Curtis (South Bay)||Haley Harris|
|Amanda Dewell (Fullerton)||Alyssa Henneberg|
|Lilly Durbin (Fallbrook)||Elenise Logoai|
|Julia Haigh (Fallbrook)||Emily Lopez|
|Enola Hayes (Fullerton)||Samantha Mason|
|Mililani Leui (South Bay)||Mary Matti|
|Selena Ioane (Tri-City)||Leilani Mendoza|
|Domonique Jordan (Fallbrook)||Naomi Mitzner|
|Eva Klein (Fullerton)||Arrielle Munsinger|
|Arnae Lefotu (Back Bay)||Talaifina Tavake|
|Aliyah Moala (South Bay)||Deja Taylor|
|Rian Moala (South Bay)||Skylar Tonumaipea|
|Michel Navarro (Fallbrook)||Brianna Vasquez|
|Eriana Pula (South Bay)||Nicole Wantlin|
|Tanner Quinto (Fullerton)|
|Hannah Savin (Fallbrook)|
|Chardelle Tuiavii (Oceanside)|
|Jennifer Turori (Fallbrook)|
|Brittany Vazquez (Fullerton)|
|Emma Workman (Fallbrook)||