The USA Women’s Eagles Sevens team won the Bronze medal after a 36-12 win over France at the 2019 HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens. Earlier in the day, the USA defeated number one ranked New Zealand 26-19 in the Cup Quarterfinals. Then faced eventual Cup champions Canada, losing 24-12.
On day one, the USA Women’s Eagles Sevens team went undefeated in Pool C at the 2019 HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens. The USA opened with a 43-7 win over England, then won 31-5 over Fiji, before ending Pool play beating Ireland 15-12.
After the bronze medal performance, the USA is in third place in the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series standings, behind New Zealand and Canada, while ahead of Australia. The top four teams after the final two Series stops in Langford and at Biarritz will qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Japan. The USA holds an 18 point lead over France, who is in fifth place.
Cup Quarterfinals: The USA vs New Zealand
Alev Kelter opened the second half with a long try down the wide channel and then converting for a 19-5 lead. New Zealand answered back with two tries by Niall Williams that were converted by Tyla Nathan-Wong to level the match at 19 all.
Kristi Kirshe then entered the match and broke down the wide channel for the winning try with Kelter adding the conversion to lead 26-19. An aggressive defense led to a Black Ferns penalty, with the U.S. kicking into touch for the win.
Cup Semifinals: The USA vs Canada
The Women’s Eagles Sevens Kitakyushu faced rivals Canada in the Cup Semifinals and lost 24-12, which would be their only loss in the tournament.h
Canada scored first after a yellow card to Alev Kelter for a high tackle. A Bianca Farella chip and chase resulted in a try. Julia Greenshields then added another from the wide channel with Ghislaine Landry slotting both conversions to lead 14-0.
Kelter forced a turnover upon her return and Lauren Doyle scored the team’s first try after a lineout to cut the lead to 14-7 at the break.
Penalties in the second half led to a try by Bianca Farella and another by Ghislaine Landry to push the lead to 24-7.
Alev Kelter then crossed the tryline, but the ball was stripped prior to grounding. Soon after, Jordan Gray-Matyas was sent to the bin, making a comeback difficult.
Canada appeared that they would add another try, but a Naya Tapper tackle created a turnover with Lauren Doyle adding a long try in the final play.
Canada took the 24-12 win and then beat England 7-5 in the Cup Final.
Bronze Final: The USA vs France
The USA Women’s Sevens beat France 36-12 to win the Bronze medal HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens. The USA reached the podium for their third time in four Series stops, the first time in the team’s history.
Head Coach Chris Brown reflected about the team’s achievements saying ”A lot of first times were achieved this weekend by this group of young ladies. Extremely proud of how the whole squad continues to respond as I demand more from them. It’s clear their belief in their knowledge and abilities is enhancing. I’m continually asking for consistency in training and as our Assistant Coach Matt Long has said all weekend, ‘when they trust in the process we can see the significant progress this group is making.”
France opened the scoring with a try by Carla Neisen in the corner and then another by Anne-Cecile Ciofani for a 12-0 lead after Shannon Izar’s conversion.
The USA cut the lead to 12-7 after a Lauren Doyle offload to Ilona Maher for a try and a Kelter conversion. Doyle then added her own try to level the match at 12 all at the break.
The USA dominated the second half with Jordan Matyas dummy, fend, and then an offload to Naya Tapper for a try and a Kelter conversion to lead 19-12. Matyas was then sent to the bin on the restart after colliding in the air for the ball.
Following a turnover by France, Kristi Kirshe attacked close to the tryline. After a few phases, Tapper offloaded to Kirshe for a try, 24-12.
Tapper then evaded two defenders for a try and after Kelter’s conversion, the match was sealed at 31-12. Kirshe added a final try for a 36-12 win.
Alev Kelter was named to the Dream Team for her outstanding performance at Kitakyushu.
With Canada winning the Gold Medal in Kitakyushu, the United States drop to third in the World Series Rankings with two more stops in Langford (May 11-12) and Biarritz (June 15-16).
The top four teams at the conclusion of the season will automatically qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The USA currently holds an 18-point lead over No. 5 France in the standings.
WOMEN’S EAGLES SEVENS Squad
USA: 1 Cheta Emba 2 Ilona Maher 3 Meya Bizer 4 Nicole Heavirland (C) 5 Alev Kelter 6 Lauren Doyle (C) 7 Naya Tapper 8 Jordan Gray-Matyas 9 Joanne Fa’avesi 10 Kayla Cannett11 Kris Thomas 12 Kristi Kirshe
WOMEN’S EAGLES SEVENS STAFF
Head Coach | Chris Brown
Head of Physical Performance | Matt Long
Athletic Trainer | Nicole Titmas
Team Manager | Liz Strohecker
HSBC KITAKYUSHU SEVENS SCHEDULE
- vs England W 43-7
- vs Fiji W 31-5
- vs Ireland W 15-12
- Pool C USA Recap
- Cup Quarterfinals vs New Zealand W 26-19
- Cup Semifinals vs Canada L 24-12
Bronze Final vs France W 36-12