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Alexi Eich soars in the lineout to win the ball for Fallbrook during the High School Girls National Championship match on May 18.
Alexi Eich soars in the lineout to win the ball for Fallbrook during the High School Girls National Championship match on May 18.
Casey Karl on the attack handing off North Bay (MD) defenders with Richelle Stephens in support.
Casey Karl on the attack handing off North Bay (MD) defenders with Richelle Stephens in support.
Casey Karl going for a big tackle on a Kent( WA) player with Kayla Canett helping to rip the ball away and Kendall Mericle in support.
Casey Karl going for a big tackle on a Kent( WA) player with Kayla Canett helping to rip the ball away and Kendall Mericle in support.
Taylor Duncan puts her body on the line to take down an Amazons (NorCal) ball carrier with the help of Alexi Eich during the High School Girls National Championship match on May 18.
Taylor Duncan puts her body on the line to take down an Amazons (NorCal) ball carrier with the help of Alexi Eich during the High School Girls Nationa...
Michel Navarro works hard to hold up an Amazon (NorCal) player and rip the ball before reinforcements in the form of Johni Durbin arrive.
Michel Navarro works hard to hold up an Amazon (NorCal) player and rip the ball before reinforcements in the form of Johni Durbin arrive.
Jeanine Garcia trying to break through the Amazon (NorCal) traffic with Tori Riddle and Jenny Smidt in support.
Jeanine Garcia trying to break through the Amazon (NorCal) traffic with Tori Riddle and Jenny Smidt in support.
Johni Durbin finds space among the Amazon (NorCal) defense with Michel Navarro in support.
Johni Durbin finds space among the Amazon (NorCal) defense with Michel Navarro in support.
Hannah Savin making a big tackle on an Amazon(NorCal) ball carrier with the help of Casey Karl.
Hannah Savin making a big tackle on an Amazon(NorCal) ball carrier with the help of Casey Karl.
Rachel Bell taking on an Amazon(NorCal) player with Elva Gonzalez and Taylor Duncan in support.
Rachel Bell taking on an Amazon(NorCal) player with Elva Gonzalez and Taylor Duncan in support.
Fallbrook U18 team members wear their medals for winning the High School Girls National Championship for the fourth year in a row, in Pittsfield, Mass.
Fallbrook U18 team members wear their medals for winning the High School Girls National Championship for the fourth year in a row, in Pittsfield, Mass...
The National Championship trophy won by the Fallbrook Girls U18 team in Pittsfield, Mass.
The National Championship trophy won by the Fallbrook Girls U18 team in Pittsfield, Mass.

Fallbrook Girls Rugby U18 takes fourth national title


Thursday, May 29th, 2014
Issue 22, Volume 18.


PITTSFIELD, MASS. – On Sunday, May 18, the Fallbrook Girls Rugby U18 team won its fourth national title in the High School Girls National Championship. Fallbrook, which had achieved the number one seed position after previous wins, played the number three seed, the Amazons of Sacramento, Calif. in the final match.

According toreporter Akeen Glaspie of the Berkshire Eagle, "The Amazons showed their strength early, but Fallbrook had plenty of strength and ample speed, leading to a 27-17 win for their fourth straight Division I crown."

"We know they’re bigger and stronger," Fallbrook coach Craig Pinnell said. "But we’re faster, so if we can play a pressure game in the beginning, we can tire them out. That’s the way we want to play those big teams."

Fallbrook gave up size to the Amazons, and the team from Sacramento looked to impose its will early.

After a penalty kick from Alex Beckett put the Warriors up 3-0 early in the first half, the Amazons marched down the field, powering in a try from the right side after a quick pass out of a ruck. The missed conversion left the score at 5-3.

Sacramento showed some speed in the first half as well, scoring a long try after winning a Fallbrook lineout and a player sprinted untouched down the middle of the field. The Amazons made their kick after the try, taking a 12-3 lead. From that point on however, Fallbrook started to move the ball on Sacramento.

Casey Karl powered in a try late in the first half, cutting the Amazons’ lead 12-8 at halftime.

Despite trailing and playing in a physical match, Pinnell said, he Advertisement
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felt his team had Sacramento on the ropes.

"We’re a fit team, so as far as the tiredness, that did not affect us," he said. "We knew if we could move them around the field, that we could win it in the end because we’re fitter and we can move faster."

Fatigue started to set in for Sacramento in the second half, allowing Fallbrook to show off its speed.

Karl punched in her second try of the day, muscling in deep in the right corner and giving Fallbrook its first lead of the day at 13-12. Karl showed some strength with her second try and from then on it was all about speed for Fallbrook.

Lilly Durbin broke off a long run, breaking away down the left side and scoring a try. MacKenzie Miller’s conversion put Fallbrook up 20-12.

Richelle Stephens dealt the knockout blow when she took a pitch from her teammate running left, splitting through the middle of Sacramento’s defense and scoring a try. Lilly Durbin’s kick put Fallbrook up 27-12.

Sacramento scored with about three minutes left, but the Amazons could not complete the comeback.

After the match, the Warriors gathered to sing Journey’s "Don’t Stop Believin’" in celebration. For Pinnell, their belief can now become relief, as this year’s national championship journey is complete.

"Tiredness did not affect us, but more it was about [handling] the emotions of the final," he said. "Every year it gets more intense, more difficult, and with more pressure. Everybody wants to take you down."

The team, which had been in practice since October, traveled back east for national playoffs on May 15.


 

3 comments

Comment Profile ImageGreg
Comment #1 | Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 12:59 pm
Way to go ladies!
Comment Profile ImageSpecial Event
Comment #2 | Sunday, Jun 1, 2014 at 5:55 am
11 DAYS AFTER THE FACT-OLD NEWS, BUT SO PROUD OF OUR HOMETOWN GIRLS !!!
Comment Profile ImageJohn & Linda Durbin
Comment #3 | Monday, Jun 23, 2014 at 11:45 am
Congratulations Warriors!!! As proud grandparents of Johni and Lilli, we are also very proud of all the girls and coaches who make up this team---you are truly Champions. Fallbrook, these young ladies, have proven to be excellent representatives of your community.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

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