CHULA VISTA, Calif. – The Women’s Eagle Sevens squad that will take on Pool C opponents Australia, China, and France at the London Sevens on May 12-13 has been named by head coach Ric Suggitt.
All eight residents under full-time training contracts with USA Rugby at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista made the squad, the first time all of the resident players have been selected for the same tournament.
“The resident players have put some solid work this past month and all of them appear fit to play,” said Suggitt.
Two newcomers, Meya Bizer and Ashley Okonta, are set to make their senior national team debut after starring in the USA Women’s Under-20s program. Bizer is a unique talent and currently plays soccer and football at the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, Kan.
Bui Baravilala, a very talented young player and also a U20s graduate, will also make her senior team debut in London. Baravilala is the youngest resident player and has the ability to become a powerful force on the field.
Nathalie Marchino returns to action after missing out on Dubai, Las Vegas, and Hong Kong. Coach Suggitt knows that Marchino is set to make an immediate impact.
“We are fortunate that Nathalie is back and raging to play. She adds confidence and experience to this very young team,” said the coach.
Another player with potential to impact the score line is Erica Cavanaugh. “Erica has the ability to score tries at domestic competition and now we think she is ready for the international level,” Suggitt said of the youngster from Virginia.
The physicality and prowess of Kaelene Lundstrum, Jillion Potter, and team captain Deven Owsiany will help the Eagles in London and all of them have been impressive so far this season.
Vanesha McGee, Kimber Rozier, and Kelly Griffin are steady performers for the USA and will provide experience and dynamism to the squad. While McGee is a proven attacking threat, Griffin and Rozier are primed to have a breakout tournament for the Eagles as both have a nose for the try line.
The USA has been impressive in 2011-2012, making the cup semifinals in every tournament they have entered, including a cup final appearance at the Las Vegas Sevens.
The Eagles take on France (3:52 a.m. MST/5:52 a.m. EST), China (6:14 a.m. MST/8:14 a.m. EST), and Australia (9:20 a.m. MST/11:20 EST) on May 12 in the pool stage. The team’s performance on day one will determine when the USA will play on day two.
USA Women’s Eagle Sevens | London Sevens
Name (Club; Hometown)
Kaelene Lundstrum (USA Rugby; Bird Island, Minn.)
Deven Owsiany (USA Rugby; Royersford, Pa.)
Jillion Potter (USA Rugby; Austin, Texas)
Katie Dowty (USA Rugby; San Ramon, California)
Kimber Rozier (USA Rugby; Raleigh, N.C.)
Nathalie Marchino (Berkeley All-Blues; Geneva, Switzerland)
Vanesha McGee (USA Rugby; Ewing, N.J.)
Meya Bizer (At Large; Woodlands, Texas)
Kelly Griffin (USA Rugby; Berkeley, Calif.)
Akalaini “Bui” Barivilala (USA Rugby; Honolulu, Hawaii)
Ashley Okonta (Notre Dame; South Bend, Ind.)
Erica Cavanaugh (NOVA; Glen Allen, Va.)