April 2003

A Soggy Showdown in SoCal?
Rains Preside at 2003 Pacific Sectionals
By Sam Gloor

It started off much like the year has gone, for many players and teams in the Pacific Section this season.  The swirl began with the loss of funding for the Casa Colina teams.  The transfer rules in the USQRA designate that a player may not move up to another team, if the new team placed higher in ranking the previous season.  This means… last year; SD Bushwhackers finished fifth, Casa sixth, Sharp Edge ninth, and  Plan B was 13th.  Casa folded, strictly due to a lack of funding but none of their players could move up and play with San Diego.  They could go down to Sharp or Plan B, but both teams had fairly large rosters versus funding.  Also, Casa could not reorganize and pick up area players because those players would be moving up in ranking.  See, if three or more of the same players stay together, then the new whatever team still retains Casa’s last season ranking.  Of course, this is only for player transfer reasons.  In some cases high quality players chose to just sit the year out and preserve their eligibility for next season, while others felt they were left with no place to go.  This is a travesty.  There is a lot of talk about the importation of foreign national players.  It’s unfortunate that the transfer rule seems to force this action.  San Diego should have one of the strongest pools of talent to pull from in the country.  The weather is perfect and at the end of last season we had 3 of the USQRA’s top 10 within 60 miles.  We could not take any of the local players and have them eligible for post-season play this year.  Nor could we find a newbie, even in the V.A. system, and this is the largest military county in the United States.  An injury, some mid-season moves, and now we are practicing with four or five guys a night. 

Thus we get back to the story…nothing is as it should be.  We are not in the normal plush, serene, Downtown setting of Balboa Park In San Diego.  Instead we are about 13 miles south and only five miles (or less) from Tijuana, Baja California.  The city of Chula Vista pulled through, as we could not locate the needed gym hours anywhere in the City of San Diego.  Sunny Southern California, the once known Mecca for Quad Rugby, is gray and cloudy.  Rain is predicted for the entire weekend … Great news for our visitors from Portland, Reno, and San Jose.  These poor souls Never get to see any rain.  At least during the Friday morning unloading we hope to stay dry.

The games are being played on a single court so days are expected to be long.  The Blister Bowl Football tournament has dealt another blow to the struggling section as well, and the Northridge Knights dropped out late.  Both of their three pointers would be tossing a pig skin for $25,000. in Viva, Las Vegas this weekend!  Many teams were okay with this longer day though, since now we could have a round robin format and get to see every team once. 

The opening game had the Reno boys taking on Portland.  Reno knows how to travel in style, so they pulled first game.  The team has a lift bus donated to them by a casino.   They hook up a trailer, load up the team, and hit the trail.  F.Y.I., when you bring your own transportation bus to a tourney, expect to get the early game!  The game was played out needlessly in a 44-15 route that went on the scoreboard as Port-Land 1 Reno 0 forfeit.  Similar circumstances resulted for the next game.  This was slated to be the first of three good matches Friday.  San Diego Bushwhackers versus the mysterious Southern California Plan B.  This time, the personnel problems were in the office and 2.0 Dan Shaw could not get off work in time to make the match.  The remaining five played a gutsy 32 minutes out to a score of 48-29.  This too, was posted a 1-0 forfeit as the Plan chose to use an unclassified new 1.5 player. (good job, Terry C.!)   Next Quake cruised by 20 over the Sharp Edge and S.D. took Reno by even more as the gym geared up for some real afternoon action.

We all know that young, hungry talent develops and refines itself quickly.  The whole gym was anxious to see this clash as San Jose took on Portland.  The first two and last two goals of the first period still had Quake up by only one.  This was offset by a three goal run for Lynn Nelson after forced consecutive turnovers by Quake between the second and fourth minutes.  This frenzy hyped the OR boys, and looked like it might continue, until a called spin on Nelson resulted in a wicked bad fall for 2.0 Brent Poppin.  He left the floor to meet an ice pack and Nelson went to the bad box.  The call was bickered over but the damage was done.  Upon return, both players performed well, but each was visually off.  Poppin was in pain, but Nelsons head was still back in the fifth minute of the first period.  This was the time of the minimal contact spin that he had not intended, and here he still was.   Consistent play continued with great defense causing an exchange of the occasional forced turnover.  It stayed three points through the end of three, but Quake pulled out a 31 – 26 win in the end.   The Friday finale went out with a bang.  

The Plan B crew was due it’s 2.0, if he could get through traffic.  An extra 15 minutes got him on the court, but the first minute of play saw Sharp go up 3-0.  Solid fundamentals and the first and last goals of the first half stretched it out to five for Sharp after three periods.  Most acted as if it were over, until the sixth minute of the fourth period.  The flurry came out of nowhere and plan B forced three turnovers in a row to tie the game with just over a minute to go.  They each scored again and Sharp tried to run out the clock.  Unsuccessful, Plan B was glad to score last.  They would tie it at the end knowing 3.5 Jerry Adalgappe could win almost any over-time tip this side of the border.   Indeed he did, and Plan B worked the clock and protected the ball beautifully.  They were poised for a last score attempt until 1minute and 21 seconds.  Some strong defense and a lack of cohesiveness at crunch time resulted in a tough turnover.  Instead, Sharp takes the 51 – 50 last score and overtime win. 

Saturday was much less eventful, In terms of the rugby.  The excitement came in switching to a new gym with consistent, often heavy, but luckily still semi warm tropical RAIN.  … every game went pretty handily as seeded.  The PDX Pounders six point win over Plan B was the only single digit game of the day.  Quake doubled Reno 44-22 while S.D. defeated sharp 48-30.  Later, a younger Sharp worked on its Edge over Reno 41-30.   Many anticipated the late afternoon match ups.  Seven Portland turnovers in the first quarter, allowed the home team Bushwhackers to work up a 43-29 win.  In the big–boy match up; giants of 3.5’s(Garrett and Jerry) clashed in the rain with thunder of their own.  However, the loud crashes mostly belonged to the seasoned Quake as they stretched out a half time nine, to 52-40. 

And then came Sunday.  Once again, were moving gyms, but at least some gear is starting to dry out between the rain.  Plan B more than doubles Reno 38–17 and sets up the Semis.  The rematch is third seed Portland vs. fourth seed Sharp.  The last meeting saw Portland winning in Pdx @ the wire.  Winning at home in your own tourney is one thing, but in the sectional qualifier, we’re talking seeding.  Expect a war!

The results turned out to be a repeat.  Sharp used it’s multiple National Championships experience to steadily build a lead.  Both teams went back and forth as each made, caused, and capitalized on turnovers.  Sharp was up one after one, two after two, and three after three.  Again, victory seemed safe, this time till the fourth minute of the fourth.  Three turnovers in a row, allowed Nelson then 2.5 Will Groulx to each score back to backs and tie it at 41 with 3 minutes remaining.  The seemingly more conditioned Pounders caused still another with less than two minutes, and go up by one.  They exchange goals again until Portland steals the sealer with less than a minute remaining.  Groulx scored his 7th consecutive goal in the last three minutes to put Portland up by two.  Sharp scored the last goal but lost 46–45.  Port–Land grows up, takes third and looks for a DII title.  Expect the Edge to be looking for the rematch. 

The final game of the So Cal sog-fest put the Quake against the hometown Bushwackers for a sectional repeat match of last year.  In the first, each team forced and made two turnovers.  Then Quake forced another, and since they scored first and last in the quarter, went ahead 10–8.  S.D. did the same in the second, and started the third down 16-15 but with possession.  Again, San Diego got first and last goal of the quarter, but a costly turnover early in the third kept the score 22–21 to start the 4th.  There would be no more turnovers, and once S.D. scored with less than two–minutes remaining, it was over.  Garrett’s height successfully protected the ball as S.D. collected a stupid, desperation, reaching penalty with 50 seconds left.  Quake killed the clock to win 26–25.

Even despite the gray and wet, it was a good weekend.  Many thanks to our sponsors, volunteers, the city of Chula Vista, the refs, score keepers, penalty, and of course the players.  Lupes crew and family were invaluable, as were Tom and Neil’s.  You guys rule!! Thanks also to Carmen’s C.V. team and know that .5 Paul was THE MAN for this event.  We have learned some things to hopefully improve for next time and especially hope to feature the Sun!

2003 Pacific Sectional Results

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