The USA Women’s Sevens team finished in fifth place in the Cape Town Sevens, which was held December 13-15.
The team is in third place in the HSBC World Sevens Series standings after winning gold in Glendale, bronze in Dubai and in fifth-place at Cape Town.
The team went 2-1 in their pool with wins over Ireland and England before a loss to Australia. This set up a quarterfinal match against Canada, which their rivals emerged with a 15-14 victory.
USA 38-0 Ireland
The USA had a dominant performance against Ireland taking a 28-0 lead at the half and finishing with a 38-0 win after scoring six tries.
Alev Kelter opened the scoring with a try under the posts with Nicole Heavirland slotting the extras to lead 7-0. Kelter then added another following an offload from Eti Haungatau for her 83rd career try and then converted.
A dummy by Haungatau led to try with Heavirland converting. Lauren Doyle claimed the ensuing restart and raced in for a try with Kelter converting to lead 28-0 at the break.
Naya Tapper added a 70-meter try and Abby Gustaitis added the team’s sixth try for a 38-0 win.
USA: 6 Lauren Doyle 5 Alev Kelter 11 Kris Thomas (C) 3 Abby Gustaitis (C) 9 Nicole Heavirland 7 Naya Tapper 9 Eti Haungatau Reserves 2 Ilona Maher (7′) 1 Cheta Emba (9′) 12 Kristi Kirshe (9′) 8 Jordan Gray-Matyas (11′) 10 Kasey McCravey (11′)
Ireland: 7 Katie Fitzhenry 5 Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe 2 Hannah Tyrrell 11 Louise Galvin 6 Kathy Baker 10 Eve Higgins 12 Emily Lane Reserves 4 Brittany Hogan (9′) Megan Burns (9′) 1 Claire Boles (DNP) 3 Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird (DNP) 9 Anna Doyle (DNP)
USA 21-7 England
Early penalties by the USA were not capitalized by England. An England mistake however, led to an Alev Kelter break for a try, which she then converted to lead 7-0.
During the second half, Kristi Kirshe found a gap for a try with Nicole Heavirland adding the extras. Naya Tapper added a third try with Heavirland slotting again to lead 21-0.
With no time on the clock, England scored a try by Deborah Fleming, which was converted by Abbie Brown for a final of 21-7 to the USA.
USA: 6 Lauren Doyle 5 Alev Kelter 9 Nicole Heavirland 7 Naya Tapper 1 Cheta Emba 8 Jordan Gray-Matyas 2 Ilona Maher Reserves 11 Kris Thomas (8′) 12 Kristi Kirshe (8′) 3 Abby Gustaitis (10′) 9 Eti Haungatau (11′)10 Kasey McCravey (12′)
England: 9 Alex Matthews 2 Abbie Brown 10 Megan Jones 8 Celia Quansah 7 Emma Uren 3 Abi Burton 12 Amy Wilson Hardy Reserves 4 Heather Fisher (5′) 1 Jodie Ounsleyn(10′) 11 Katie Mason (12′) 6 Deborah Fleming (12′) 5 Beth Wilcock (DNP)
USA 14-19 Australia
The USA Women’s Sevens lost their final Pool C match 19-14 to Australia, who also came into the match unbeaten.
Australia, who had most of the early attacking opportunities, took a 7-0 lead an Ellia Green try and a Charni Williams conversion. They pushed the lead to 14-0 after a Sharni Williams quick tap from a penalty, who then added her own conversion.
Just prior to the break, a strong run by Kristi Kirshe and an offload to Alev Kelter resulted in a try and conversion to cut the lead to 14-7.
A Lauren Doyle try and a conversion by Nicole Heavirland then knotted the match at 14 all.
An Emma Tonegato break down the wing put Australia in the lead again 19-14. The USA had a chance to score on the final play but the ball was knocked on with Cheta Emba open on the wing.
USA: 6. Lauren Doyle 5. Alev Kelter 11. Kris Thomas 3. Abby Gustaitis 4. Nicole Heavirland 7. Naya Tapper 2. Ilona Maher Reserves 12. Kristi Kirshe (6′) 1. Cheta Emba (7′) 8. Jordan Gray-Matyas (11′) 10 Kasey McCravey (DNP) 9 Eti Haungatau (DNP)
Australia: 12 Ellia Green 1 Shannon Parry 10 Alicia Lucas 5 Emma Tonegato 2 Sharni Williams 4 Cassandra Staples 8 Madison Ashby Reserves 7 Jakiya Whitfeld (6′) 6 Demi Hayes (DNP) 3 Yasmin Meakes (DNP) 11 Rhiannon Byers (DNP) 9 Faith Nathan (DNP)
Canada 15-14 USA
With the loss to Canada, it is the first time in eight tournaments that the USA Women’s Sevens will miss the semifinals at HSBC Cape Town Sevens.
The USA started the match under pressure early after a yellow card to Nicole Heavirland on the opening kick off. Canada opened the scoring with a try by Brittany Benn to lead 5-0.
The USA answered back from a lineout with a run by Naya Tapper springing Alev Kelter around the wide channel for a try and conversion to take a 7-5 lead.
Canada added a try by Ghislaine Landry in the corner to reclaim a 10-7 lead at the break.
Early in the second half Alev kelter added her second try and conversion to lead 14-10.
Canada came right back with a try by Julia Greenshields, which held up for a 15-14 win.
The USA ultimately finished in 5th place in Cape Town, which was based on point differential between quarterfinalist losers.
The United States will have a break before returning for the fourth and fifth stops of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Hamilton on January 25-26 and Sydney February 1-2.
USA: 5. Alev Kelter 3. Abby Gustaitis, Co-Captain 4. Nicole Heavirland 7. Naya Tapper 8. Jordan Gray-Matyas
2. Ilona Maher 12. Kristi Kirshe Reserves 6. Lauren Doyle (10′) 11. Kris Thomas, Co-Captain (7′) 1. Cheta Emba (10′) 10 Kasey McCravey (DNP) 9 Eti Haungatau (DNP)
Canada: 8 Bianca Farella 5 Julia Greenshields 9 Ghislaine Landry 2 Kayla Moleschi 11 Karen Paquin 1 Brittany Benn 3 Caroline Crossley Reserves 6 Charity Williams (8′) 7 Sara Kaljuvee (10′) 10 Kaili Lukan (13′) 4 Elissa Alarie (DNP) 12 Pam Buisa (DNP)
Head Coach Chris Brown
Assistant Coach Warren Abrahams
Strength & Conditioning Matt Long
Athletic Trainer Nicole Titmas
Team Manager Liz Strohecker
HSBC CAPE TOWN SEVENS RESULTS & Match Preview
vs Ireland 38-0 (W)
vs England 21-7 (W)
vs Australia 14-19 (L)
vs Canada 14-15 (L)
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