Santa Monica Women Clinch SoCal Title, Head to Nationals
In a tough playoff match, the Santa Monica Women defeated Belmont Shore to notch their third trip in a row to Nationals this past weekend.
The first half started with an exchange of tries, with Belmont striking the first blow and capitalizing on a lost lineout (conversion good, 0-7). Santa Monica quickly responded when April Rodriguez picked up a ball off a turnover in a ruck and ran it in for a try (5-7). A penalty in the red zone gave the Dolphins another opportunity and wing Alex Walker touched down the ball to take the lead (10-7). Belmont scored within 3 minutes of this to take the lead back (conversion good, 10-12). True to form, both teams exchanged tries again in the next 10 minutes with another by Hannah Han (Whitney Vance conversion, 17-12). However, Santa Monica closed out the half strong with Walker scoring twice more before the whistle and ending the half 27-17.
The Dolphins carried the momentum of the end of the first half with a try by captain Vance (32-17). At this point, Belmont brought in fresh legs and aggressive play that the Dolphins had trouble containing. Belmont scored a try in the 51st and 65th minute, converting both and bringing the score to 32-31 with 15 minutes left. At the 72nd minute, Belmont elected to kick for points on a penalty awarded in the red zone, but missed just wide of the posts, putting the live ball into the hands of Vance. The Dolphins were able to push the ball all the way down the pitch and ultimately into the hands of Walker, who scored her fourth try of the match and sealed the game for a Santa Monica victory. The whistle blew with a final score of 37-31.
The Santa Monica head to Tucson, AZ the weekend of May 21st for the National Quarterfinals and face the reigning Division 1 champions, the Seattle Saracens in their first match. They will need your support to help get them there – more details to follow!