PACIFIC SECTIONALS RECAP
Well the long awaited 2016 USQRA Pacific Sectionals started Friday night with the top 5 teams from the Pacific Section gathered at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma Washington. Stakes were high with only the top 4 finishing teams moving on to the National Championship in Houston Texas April 22-24. The tournament was a 4 game Round-Robin with each team playing each other one time, the best 4 records moving on. We had Seattle Slam, San Diego Sharp, Northridge Knights, Portland Pounders and the NorCal Quakes battling it out.
Seattle Slam started out Friday night playing the Northridge Knights. With the Knights running a strong 2.5, 2, 2, 1.5 lineup, the Slam knew they had a tough game on their hands. The Slam came out with their starting 3,3,1,1 line up with heavy hitter Paul Walston and speedster and Canadian National player Fabien Lavoie being led by their pickers Jeremy Hannaford and Mike Wagner. At the jump, the Knights got the first possession and goal but the Slam went to work and followed up with their own. Then the Slam went to work on defense causing turn over after turn over. At the end of the first quarter, Seattle had quite the jump on the Knights. The Slam switched up lines throughout the next three quarters, rotating in the deuces, Brian Chaffin, Brian Moore and Michael Lykins along with picking power of Chris McCarty, Jayden Chapman and Josh Curtis. The Slam powered through with a strong 61-42 win.
Saturday was the big test for the Slam, taking on the D2 National Champion Sharp Edge being led by Kory Puderbaugh and Jeff Odom. They were running a similar lineup to the Slam with a 3,3, 1, 0.5. The game started out fast with a lot of big hits. The Slam and Sharp traded goals for most of the first quarter. It had the makings of a great game. Second quarter started out with strong defense from the Slam and pulled to a lead by the end of the first half. Third quarter was much like the second, fast paced and a strong defense by Seattle causing a few turn overs and eating up Sharp’s time outs. Sharp switched up lineups a couple times to throw of the Slam’s game but they kept bringing the pressure. Into the fourth quarter Seattle had yet to sub and was running an iron man game. The kept up the pressure and played smart rugby and pulled away from Sharp to take a 62-48 win.
Seattle’s second game of the day came against neighboring Portland Pounders who were running with a short list of players for the weekend but came out fighting. With the Slam coming out with a high of a win against Sharp, the intensity was firing on all cylinders. The Slam jumped out to a lead then started subbing in their other line ups to get everyone gelling. In the second quarter, Seattle put in a very unbalanced line up which had trouble against the Pounders at first, giving up a few turn overs but by the end of the quarter, had ironed the wrinkles out. Starting the second half, the Slam came out with a new line and started causing turn overs and firing things back up. Seattle cruised to a 52-37 victory to finish off day two.
Sunday was the final game to lock up 1st Place for the Slam if they got a win over the NorCal Quakes. Seattle came into this game preparing different lineups for Nationals. The Slam came out hot and heavy and jumped to a great lead by the end of the first quarter. Second quarter was started with Seattle running their balanced lineup to get it fine tuned. NorCal kept the pressure and made the Slam work but they kept adding to their lead. Throughout the second half, Seattle kept working different line ups and getting everyone playing time along with causing turn overs on defense. With the clock winding down it the fourth quarter, the Slam kept up the pressure and got a few more turnovers and sealed the deal and 1st Place with a 62-39 win!
The 2016 USQRA Pacific Sectionals was a huge success. With the Slam taking 1st, Sharp taking 2nd, Northridge in 3rd, NorCal in 4th and Portland in 5th. Congratulations to all the teams advancing to Nationals!
This tournament couldn’t have been ran any better and that is all thanks to the huge group of people who volunteered their time and the sponsors who help fund it. Huge Thank You to Emily Scott, John Lindstrom, Mike Clay, Eric Rabinowitz, Tiffanie Miner-Hannaford, John Balbin, Vince Nguyenpham, Megan Ferris, Kassie Hollman, Parker Ayers and all the selfless volunteers who took time out to help us.
Also our sponsors, the companies that have our back and help with the high costs of putting on a tournament of this magnitude. Without you, this would not be possible.
Thank You to:
METRO PARKS TACOMA
OUTDOORS FOR ALL
TACOMA SOUTH SOUND SPORTS
THE RAYNIER FOUNDATION
SEATTLE CHILDRENS HOSPITAL
VESCO METAL CRAFT
CONNELLY LAW GROUP
THE UNBROKEN FOUNDATION
THE SEATTLE SARASENS RUGBY
And all of the people who donated their hard earned money to the bake sale and donation boxes!
WE ARE OFF TO THE USQRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS! WISH US LUCK AND STAY TUNED!