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DOLPHINS STORM BACK, DROWN SHARKS IN RUGBY 7’S

Week 3 of high school rugby

By Patrick Lujan

Rugby 7’s is quick and fast in terms of the action and the time. Speed kills and the clock is short with two seven-minute halves and a one-minute halftime.

Faced with a two-try deficit heading into the second half, the Southern Dolphins managed to pull off an incredible comeback to beat the Sanchez Sharks 19-12 Saturday morning in high school girls rugby action at the GW Field.

“It shows we are a tough group and a smart group,” Southern head coach Enrique Baza said about the comeback while expressing his confidence in his team despite trailing 12-0 at halftime. “100% (confident). It’s never a doubt. When we get into those situations, it’s nerve-wracking. I’m confident in my girls, no matter what it is. In the past, win or lose, I always think that the girls are going to come back.”

Tied at 12-12 and the one-minute horn firmly behind them, the Dolphins had one last push toward the goal.

Junior team captain Sky Nangauta managed to get close enough to dive past the goal line with mere seconds on the clock for the game-winning try and the improbable comeback.

“When I saw that gap there, I knew I had to take it instead of passing it out and risking a knock on. Diving in that try felt good to give our team the victory.”

– Sky Nangauta on scoring the winning try

The team’s leading scorer went on to say that it was Coach Baza’s halftime speech that woke up the Dolphins.

“We were obviously down in the first half and we were tired and frustrated amongst ourselves. That halftime talk that our coach gave us, it really motivated us to face adversity and win,” Nangauta added. “Sanchez is a really good team so we knew we had to bring it this game and we were all determined to win.”

Sharks control 1st half

Sanchez, which came into the match with a 4-0-1 record, looked to stay undefeated as they jumped to a comfortable 12-0 lead, thanks to Ronnie Cruz, who dashed out to two long tries.

Cruz’s first score saw her twist away from a would-be tackler before sprinting toward the goal some 70 yards away. Cruz struck again right at the end of the first half as she took advantage of a Southern offsides and turned a heads-up quick drop into a 50 yard sprint for the big lead.

Dolphins inch back

With victory fading away, Genae Villaluna gave Southern a hint of hope with a 60-yard try down the sidelines to put the Dolphins on the board.

Brielle Naputi fought through a tight Sanchez defensive front to tie the game 12-12 for the Dolphins with under two minutes to go. The sense of urgency and the momentum was then in the hands of the Dolphins, leading up to the game-winner by Nangauta.

Both teams fought to a 19-19 tie in their first matchup of the season.

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