The USA Women’s Sevens squad heads to Vancouver for their fifth stop on the 2023 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, moving from Langford to BC Place for the first time. Tokyo Olympians Alev Kelter and Ariana Ramsey return to residency and join the squad. In pursuit of their fifth straight medal this season, the Eagles are in strong contention for early Olympic qualification, sitting at third place in the series standings.
Head Coach Emilie Bydwell’s traveling roster of 12 features the 2023 core roster on this year’s circuit, while 2020 Olympians Alev Kelter and Ariana Ramsey return to the Sevens Series for the first time this season. Kelter returned to Chula Vista after competing in the Allianz Premiere 15s last season, leading to an appearance in the Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand with the Women’s Eagles 15s. While Ramsey rejoins the team following a 2022 NIRA National Championship with Dartmouth College. Jaz Gray continues to recover from an injury sustained in New Zealand.
The squad will be up against familiar faces Canada and Ireland in Pool C as well as a matchup against Brazil. HSBC Vancouver Sevens kicks off Friday, March 3, LIVE on Peacock.
Heading into the second half of the 2023 Series, the Eagles are looking to solidify their place in the top four to earn qualification to Paris 2024. The squad begins their Pool C play in Vancouver against Brazil, who they last played in Hamilton. The Eagles have won four of the last five games against Brazil, who sits 11th in the series.
The second Pool C match will be another North American showdown between the USA and Canada. Playing on their home turf and looking to reverse a 12-14 loss in Sydney, the Canadian squad will head into the match with an edge on home field, but fans can expect this match to be one of the most anticipated games of the weekend. Finally, the USA plays Ireland in their last pool match, and both teams are no strangers to each other this season. Two bronze final matches have come down to the two teams, and Ireland will be hungry to capture their first 2023 series medal in Vancouver.
Going into the fifth series stop, the USA have done well to earn a spot in the medal rounds and open the opportunity for podium finishes. The open field and space of BC Place will cater well to the USA style of play, the team’s speed, power and continuity game hoping to be the difference maker in wearing gold by tournament's end.
Comments from Head Coach Emilie Bydwell ahead of Vancouver Sevens:
“We can’t wait to get back on the road and head up to Vancouver, we had a lot to build off from our Hamilton and Sydney performances and are looking forward to seeing how the work we’ve done in these training blocks translates back into competition. We are excited to welcome back Alev Kelter, who has been working very diligently in our residency program off the back of her 15s World Cup campaign. She adds great energy as a power runner but is also an excellent pass, kick and turnover threat. Ari Ramsey will get her first taste of the World Series following an appearance at the 2021 Olympic Games. She adds elite speed to our already incredibly dynamic team that the opposition will need to respect and solve for.
We are incredibly proud of the work that our team has done over the last four tournaments and acknowledge that it requires all 22 residents pulling in the same direction, whether they feature on the series or not, because it creates a competitive and challenging training environment that has been a major contributor to our ability to deliver consistent performances under pressure this season.
Our team knows how challenging our pool is and we expect different threats, pictures and surprises from Brazil, Canada and Ireland so we will be focused on going one game at a time and being present in each moment so that we can perform to our potential.
USA Women’s Sevens Roster | HSBC Vancouver Sevens
|1. Cheta Emba (she/her)||Prop/Hooker||26|
|2. Ilona Maher||Center/Prop||21|
|3. Kayla Canett||Flyhalf/Scrumhalf||18|
|4. Nicole Heavirland||Hooker/Scrumhalf||32|
|6. Alena Olsen||Scrumhalf||13|
|7. Naya Tapper (C)||Wing/Prop||30|
|11. Kristen Thomas||Hooker/Prop||36|
|12. Kristi Kirshe (she/her)||Center/Prop||17|
|15. Alev Kelter||Center/Flyhalf||36|
|21. Ariana Ramsey||Scrumhalf/Wing||0|
|22. Sammy Sullivan||Prop||4|
|23. Lauren Doyle (C)||Wing||36|
USA Women’s Sevens Traveling Staff
Head Coach | Emilie Bydwell (she/her)
Assistant Coach | Zack Test
Athletic Trainer | Nicole Titmas (she/her)
Strength & Conditioning | Trey Ford
Sports Psychologist | Peter Haberl (he/him)
Analyst | Lauren Barber
USA Women’s Sevens Vancouver Schedule
Friday, March 3
v. Brazil | 2:08 pm ET
v. Canada | 8:20 pm ET
Saturday, March 4
v. Ireland | 2:50 pm ET
Knockouts begin at 6:28 pm ET.
Sunday, March 5
Knockouts continue at 12 pm ET.
LIVE on Peacock