USA Sevens Women

Written by Jackie Finlan    Saturday, 29 June 2013 02:24    PDF Print Write e-mail
USA Women Hold on for RWC Win
Sevens - USA Sevens Women

A much tighter game than expected, the USA Women won their Rugby World Cup Sevens opener 12-7 over Brazil.

Folayan at center of USA attack. (Ian Muir photo)

The USA is favored to win Pool C, with Spain posing the biggest challenge in round three, so it did come as a surprise to see such a small point differential in the first round. The last time the USA saw Brazil (mid-May at the Amsterdam 7s), the Eagles beat the South Americans soundly, 24-0. But the stakes are higher here in Moscow, and that can elevate - or stymie - a team's game.

The Eagles got out to great start and within three minutes, the USA had piled on 12 points. Vix Folayan was at the center of it all. She’s been ignored by the IRB as a “Player to Watch,” but she is clearly a star in today’s game – not only devastatingly fast, but so strong in contact, and has the ability to create something out of nothing. She scored the first try 45 seconds in, then broke through the defense minutes later to set up Christy Ringgenberg for the second score. Kimber Rozier converted Ringgenberg’s try, and the USA was up 12-0 after three minutes.

Deven Owsiany nearly gave the USA another five points, almost getting around the corner, but she was pushed into touch. Five meter off their tryline, Brazil took the subsequent lineout and kicked to touch to end the half.

The USA was in a nice position come second half. The team got certain players with less experience – Ryan Carlyle, Emilie Bydwell – onto the field, and momentum was on their side. But Brazil wasn’t ready to lie down just yet. Some scrappy play marked the beginning of the second half, and a minute-and-a-half in, Beatriz Muhlbauer dove over the line for the try. Thais Rocha nailed the two-pointer, and suddenly it was a 12-7 game.

Brazil kept their collective foot on the gas, and Paula Ishibashi nearly crossed the line for the tying points if it wasn’t for the fantastic coverage of captain Vanesha McGee. That tackle saved the USA in the long run, as the Eagles held on for the rest of the half and close win.

Although there is no video footage available just yet, as the IRB and RWC 7s are not live streaming the first two rounds of the women’s competition, one assumes that today’s outcome was a combination of Brazil stepping up their game and the USA not playing to their full potential over 14 minutes. But a win's a win.

The other Pool C game took a similar route. Spain raced out to 14 points on two tries from Elisabet Martinez, as the heavy favorites looked to dominate newcomer Fiji. But then the Fijians joined the fight and put Suliana Batirau away for two tries to tie it up at 14-all.

With two tight games kicking off Pool C, point differential could come into play down the road, when the top two teams are moved into the Cup quarterfinals.

The USA will play Fiji in round two at 5:24 a.m. ET, and then play Spain in their final pool play game at 12:00 p.m. ET.

USA 12
Tries: Folayan, Ringgenberg
Conversions: Rozier

Spain 7
Tries: Muhlbauer
Conversions: Rocha

Written by Jackie Finlan    Wednesday, 26 June 2013 17:38    PDF Print Write e-mail
Meet the Women Eagles at RWC 7s
Sevens - USA Sevens Women

Ian Muir photo.Meet the USA women's team set to kick off at the Rugby World Cup 7s in Moscow!

Using this e-magazine (much like the RUGBY Magazine e-publication) you can learn about each player.

Click here to view.

Written by Jackie Finlan    Tuesday, 25 June 2013 20:41    PDF Print Write e-mail
Johnson Inaugurates 7s Career at RWC
Sevens - USA Sevens Women

The USA Women’s 7s team is in Moscow, and in three days, the Eagles will kick off their World Rugby Cup Sevens campaign. It seems like only yesterday when the country inaugurated its first-ever professional rugby players, but in fact, it’s been nearly a year and a half. Coach Ric Suggitt has tinkered with the lineup and player combinations at every tournament, and so when the final roster was announced, there was bound to be some element of surprise.

Katie Johnson, seen here during RWC 7s warm-ups in Moscow. (

Katie Dowty and Sadie Anderson were left off, Ryan Carlyle replaced the injured Bui Baravilala, and even Irene Gardner’s addition turned some heads. But none were so surprising as Katie Johnson. The longtime USA U20 captain has never played in an international 7s match, so how could she beat out athletes who were playing rugby as their career?

“I have been going to tryouts for the last year, but my fitness wasn't up to par until World Cup tryouts, with the help of my personal trainer, Bryan Everett,” Johnson said. “No, I’m not a capped 7s player but have had the opportunity to be coached by one of the best, in my opinion – Sam Robinson in Minnesota with the Youngbloodz.”

That’s when Johnson first caught our eye – in terms of 7s – during the club 7s championship last year with the Youngbloodz. Johnson had helped form the team and played alongside well-knowns like Christy Ringgenberg, Sylvia Braaten and Stacey Bridges. And yet she still managed to stand out. Long and lean, with nice speed and fantastic hands, Johnson was the epicenter of a team that would finish third at nationals, during its first year in existence. Having been known primarily as a 15s loose forward, 7s seemed to be a perfect fit for Johnson.

“Sevens in general has always been a goal of mine,” Johnson described how the 7s world cup fit into her rugby plans. “I love the field space and the speed of the game. A [professional 7s] contract would be ideal, because when you play with this much talent everyday, it forces you to get better. If it doesn’t happen, then I’m just going to have to work twice as hard at home.”

The fact that Suggitt picked Johnson without testing her on the international state speaks volumes of the confidence he must have in the youngster. Sure, she’s been playing international rugby longer than some of her contracted counterparts, but Suggitt has only seen her perform in camp or on developmental sides at domestic competitions.

“Having the experience with the U20s helps with the nerves of playing other countries and being able to pick up and play with the high level of my new teammates,” Johnson said. “I know most of the girls from playing against or with them on past teams. They have all been very welcoming and go out of their way to bring me up to speed.”

In reality, Johnson probably won’t see much playing time in Moscow. If the USA pulls away from Brazil or Fiji during pool play, then perhaps she’ll get her first 7s cap at the world cup. However this experience unfolds, one suspects Johnson will be grateful for it.

“I will play any position I am asked to play,” Johnson laughed. “I’m just excited to be on the field! I was so excited to get this opportunity to represent my country again, doing the thing I love most.”

Written by Alex Goff    Saturday, 18 May 2013 12:47    PDF Print Write e-mail
A Quick Analysis of the Eagles Women 7s - P
Sevens - USA Sevens Women

Fourth place is just fine for the USA women's 7s team as they completed the first-ever IRB Women's World Series Saturday in Amsterdam.

Written by Press Release    Saturday, 18 May 2013 11:16    PDF Print Write e-mail
USA Women Win Plate in Amsterdam
Sevens - USA Sevens Women

Amsterdam, Netherlands – It took a few extra minutes, but the UA women's 7s team managed to defeat Spain 17-12 Saturday in the Plate Final of Amsterdam Sevens, the final leg of the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.

The Eagles fell behind in the fifth minute after a bad Spain pass caused a misstep by the Eagles defender, allowing Berta Garcia to score the opening try. Laura Esbri’s conversion was wide, however, and the Eagles found themselves down 5-0.

Jillion Potter was rewarded for her tough defensive work all weekend with a nice juke to get through the Spain defense and a long run to score her first try of the tournament. Kimber Rozier nailed the conversion for a 7-5 Eagles halftime lead.

Potter and Vanesha McGee opened the second half with a huge combined hit on a Spanish attacker, and the rest of the Eagles followed suit with punishing hits for the remainder of the match.

Christy Ringgenberg was beaten to the outside in the 10th minute by Esbri for a try, and her own conversion gave Spain a 12-7 lead.

With time expired, Potter moved the ball to the middle of the field and created space for Victoria Folayan to showcase her speed on the outside and score the match-tying try. Ringgenberg’s conversion was wide, however, sending the game into extra time.

It only took two minutes to find the winner. McGee used her long strides on the left touch line to put the Spain defense in her dust and touched down in the try zone for the 17-12 win.

“We’re never satisfied,” Women’s Eagles Sevens Head Coach Ric Suggitt said of the Plate victory. “But we’re really happy.”

The Eagles won the Bowl in Dubai, finished second at home at Houston Sevens and finished fourth at Guangzhou Sevens. With the Plate victory and Canada’s Cup Final appearance in Amsterdam, the Eagles will finish the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in fourth.

Up next for the Eagles is a month of preparation for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow in June.

“We’re going to take the next week relaxing and swimming in the ocean in San Diego,” Suggitt said. “Then we’ll go back to the drawing board and take a look at our pool opponents in Moscow. We’ll be ready.”

USA lineup v Spain  
Jillion Potter
Kelly Griffin
Vanesha McGee
Deven Owsiany
Sadie Anderson
Bui Baravilala
Victoria Folayan
Kimber Rozier
Emilie Bydwell
Katie Dowty
Christy Ringgenberg
Nathalie Marchino

USA 17
Tries: Potter, Folayan, McGee
Convs: Rozier

Spain 12
Tries: Esbri, Garcia
Convs: Esbri


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