USA Women’s Eagles Sevens & Dubai Sevens
The USA Women’s Eagles advanced to the Bronze Final but narrowly lost to Australia 26-21. Coupled with a silver medal at the USA Sevens in Glendale, the team sits in third place in the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series with 32 points, two points behind Canada. New Zealand is in first place with 40 points, while Australia is in 4th place with 28 points. The top four teams after the six Series stops will qualify for the Olympics.
The USA Women went 2-1 in Pool play, beating China 31-0, losing at death to England 14-12, and then beating Australia 22-17. That set up a quarterfinal match against France. The USA won 12-10 and then faced New Zealand in the semifinals, losing 22-0. In the bronze medal final, Lily Dick last-minute try gave Australia a 26-21 win in a rematch with the USA.
USA vs China
Tries by Abby Gustaitis, Ilona Maher, and Cheta Emba gave the team a 17-0 lead at the break. Kris Thomas and Cheta Emba added tries during the second half for a 31-0 win. Alev Kelter slotted three conversions.
USA vs England
During the first half, a Cheta Emba try and a Nicole Heavirland conversion gave the U.S. a 7-0 lead. Abbie Brown answered back with a try, which was then converted to knot the match at 7 all at the break.
The U.S. reclaimed the lead 12-7 after a Naya Tapper try and Amy Wilson Hardy’s try for England tied the match with the conversion giving England a 14-12 win.
USA vs Australia
Kris Thomas scored in the first 20 seconds to give the USA a 7-0 lead after Hevirland’s conversion. Australia answered back with a Dominique Du Toit try to cut the lead to 7-5 at the break.
Ilona Maher scored two tries to begin the second half, pushing the lead to 17-5. Then Joanne Fa’avesi was sent to the bin and tries by Ellia Green and Lily Dick knotted the score at 17 all.
Alena Olsen saved a try keeping Evania Pelite from grounding the ball. This provided a chance for the U.S. The team then held up a player on the tackle with Cheta Emba ripping the ball out and sprinting in for the winning try and a 22-17 victory.
Cup Quarterfinals: USA vs France
Lauren Doyle crossed the line first for the USA and Alev Kelter added a conversion for a 7-0 lead. A Kris Thomas try pushed the lead to 12-0. France added two tries, the last by Anne Cecile Ciofani as time expired. With the 12-10 win, the Women’s Eagles advanced to the Cup semifinals against the New Zealand Black Ferns.
Cup Semifinals: USA vs New Zealand
The Black Ferns showed why they won the first two HSBC Women’s Sevens Series stops. Michaela Blyde opened the match with three ties and Shakira Baker added another with Nathan-Wong converting for a 22-0 win.
Bronze Medal: USA vs Australia
Only one try separated the USA and Australia in the first match and the same would occur in the second. This time around it was Australia adding the winning try and gaining a 26-21 win.
The USA and Australia had a seesaw first half with Alev Kelter scoring her first try of the tournament and Evannia Pelite answering back to level the match at 7 all. Naya Tapper then scored and Charlotte Caslick answered back with no time to knot the match at 14 all at the break.
Kelter added her second try and this was answered by a second try by Caslick to level the score, 21 all. After a yellow card by Abby Gustaitis, Australia took advantage with Lily Dick scoring a try for the 26-21 victory.
The USA left Dubai with 4th place, but are in third place in the HSBC Series standings. Sydney is next for the Women’s Series on Feb. 1-3, 2019.
Congratulations to Ashlee Byrge on gaining her first cap.
USA Women’s Eagles Sevens: 1. Joanne Fa’avesi 2. Abby Gustaitis 3. Cheta Emba 4. Ilona Maher 5. Kristen Thomas 6. Ashlee Byrge* 7. Lauren Doyle (Co-Captain) 8. Alena Olsen 9. Alev Kelter 10. Nicole Heavirland (Co-Captain) 11. Naya Tapper 12. Stephanie Rovetti
*First HSBC World Sevens Series appearance. [All players are part of the Women’s Sevens residency program.] Preview Article!
Women’s Eagles Sevens Staff
- General Manager Emilie Bydwell
- Head Coach Chris Brown
- Performance Analyst Dave Gardner
- Athletic Trainer Nicole Titmas
- Team Manager Liz Strohecker