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Saints Girls Win NorCal Sevens

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Saints Girls Win NorCal Sevens

Emma Perez assesses her options.

The Saints Rugby Club took the Northern California Girls HS 7s over the weekend, going 4-0 on Saturday.

The Saints, out of Sacramento, are made up of student-athletes from Saint Francis HS and Christian Brothers HS—two coed Catholic schools in the city. Under Head Coach Wes Hilger, the Saints scored at least four tries in every game and never gave up more than a try per game.

Saints 24 Elk Grove 0
Saints 31 TAM Highlanders 7
Saints 43 Bishop O'Dowd 5
Saints 33 Cardondelet 5

Seeing the Saints through was a commitment to playing quickly. They set rucks without delay and always had someone ready to pass off the base to someone always ready to receive the pass. Simple stuff, but working hard in support the Saints also kept the ball alive and thus even if a team made its tackles two or three times, eventually the space was there.

In the final, Emily Hartman was the first to find that gap and while she was taken down just before the tryline, she wisely release, got back on her feet, regathered, and was over.

A turnover and a sidestep saw Dana Greer run almost the length of the field. Both tries were under the posts and Ainsley Fong it was 14-0. Fong then ghosted through a half-gap to gallop in and she converted her own effort make put the Saints up 21-0.

Where Carondelet had the measure of the Saints was in tight play, where they were strong in contact and drove the Saints back in scrums. But speed on defense kept Carondelet scoreless and repeated tackles eventually led to the first try of the second half. A Carondelet offload from the ground didn't go to hand and Fong gathered it up just a few meters in front of the Saints tryline.

The Saints kept the ball alive—Greer smartly offloading before she got dragged into touch—six passes and one tackle later Emma Perez was racing into the corner.

A quick tap and a 50-meter run from captain Sophie Diaz set up a short run for Fong and with her conversion she had 18 points in the game. Carondelet finally got their try thanks to power runs through the Saints defense, but it was too little too late and the Saints had won 33-7.

The Saints were led by Diaz, who led the team with 14 tackles, forced three turnovers, and also scored two tries. Her willingness to do the hard work off the ball was crucial. Flyhalf Hartman ran the attack and was the prime table-setter for Greer to score. Greer led the team with seven tries, while Hartmand had five. Greer also defended well on the edge.

Perez was second to Diaz in tackles and a scrappy scrumhalf, while Fong was overall very good, poaching ball, connecting well, and converting 10 tries.

These players will. be tracked into the Sacramento Harlequins club team in the spring.