Schuylkill River and Scion Claim First Scalps in Mid-Atlantic

With only one bid to Nationals for the Mid-Atlantic, the summer 7s series began on Saturday at the Blue Ball 7s in Wilmington, Del. where Schuylkill River and Scion Academy claimed the first championships. 

With only one bid to Nationals for the Mid-Atlantic, the summer 7s series began on Saturday at the Blue Ball 7s in Wilmington, Del. where Schuylkill River and Scion Academy claimed the first championships. 

The men's premier event consisted of nine teams with Pool A consisting of the Beltway Elite, Washington, and Old Gaelic; Pool B with Schuylkill River, the Pittsburgh Pandas, and the Washington Irish; and Pool C having NOVA, Rocky Gorge, and Philadelphia-Whitemarsh.

The Beltway Elite, Schuylkill River, and Rocky Gorge won their respective pools and were joined by NOVA to take the top seeds in the cup quarterfinals. The top four advanced to the semifinals where the Beltway Elite took out NOVA, 29-17, and Schuylkill River edged Rocky Gorge, 19-12.

When Beltway and Schuylkill met in the final, it had appeared that the Elite had the momentum after the first half, but the River showed great resilience in the second half. Beltway held the lead early in the second half, however, Ben Janssen tied it up for Schuylkill at 19-19 and Paul Diorio scored on the last play for the 26-19 championship victory.

"We made a standpoint of playing lockdown defense and we were going to frustrate teams by not letting them put too many points on the board," Schuylkill captain Ben Janssen said. "We came together and got better each game, but I noticed there is a lot of parity in the MAC right now and because we only have one bid to Nationals, it seems every team is really gunning for the top spot. Every point is crucial this summer and you can tell every game how badly each team wants it."

In the women's premier division, the Scion Rugby Academy dominated the entire competition and didn't surrender a point scored until the cup final. NOVA, Philadelphia, and two sides from the DC Furies did their best, but they were no match for the National Development Academy from D.C. Unfortunately, because every qualifier counts for the MAC, Scion was unable to attend the Women's Academy Tournament in Chula Vista, Calif.

Scion racked up a +113 point differential in pool play and NOVA, Philadelphia, and the DC Furies went 2-2. In a rematch of the first match of the tournament, the DC Furies gave Scion a fight in the cup final, but Scion prevailed with the majority of the offensive possession for the 12-5 win.

"For the first week, it feels like everyone has improved from last year," Scion coach Joanne Liu said. "Though we have a lot of young new players, because of their positive attitudes and communication during the games as well as the consistent leadership of Lauren Rhode, Kiki Morgan, and Maggie Miles, we were able to pull together for a successful first sevens tournament."

There is no time to rest as the second MAC qualifier is Saturday at the Rites of Summer Tournament in Baltimore, Md.