USA Women’s Sevens rally from Quarterfinal loss to notch 12 series points in Vancouver

Sun, Feb 25, 2024, 7:38 PM
by Taylor Dean
Mike Lee - KLC Photos
Mike Lee - KLC Photos

The USA Women’s Sevens fell to hosts Canada in the Vancouver SVNS quarterfinal, to earn 12 series points and take fifth place. With one week until their home tournament in Los Angeles, the squad will reset as they build toward the end of the season. 

It was a full team effort throughout the weekend as the USA Women’s Sevens worked to maximize their SVNS points. Ariana Ramsey was a top try scorer for the USA in Vancouver, making her way over the try line five times throughout the weekend. Big lessons learned from Vancouver will help the squad improve for their first-ever appearance at LA SVNS. The home tournament kicks off Friday, March 1, live on RugbyPass. 

Comments from Head Coach Emilie Bydwell: 

“We came into this weekend with the goal of being on the podium, and it’s frustrating to fall short of that. But how we went about our business in terms of behavior and actions we’ve been working on really put us in a good position. We had two second-half comebacks on day one, which is something we’ve been striving to improve. In the golden point game against Australia, we really felt like we were in a position to win. It’s just the little details in the end that we didn’t get quite right that ended up punishing us. It hurts, but we still have an opportunity to learn from it.

In the Canada game, we were less clinical than we needed to be in the beginning and when we had opportunities. We let them get momentum to put points on the board, and we went down players. We talked a lot about possession and discipline against Canada, and when we don’t follow that, they’re going to put pressure on us.

We see this as the next building block going into LA, our home tournament. We know as a team that we’ve improved since Perth, and the placing doesn’t necessarily show that. We’re very clear on what we’ve improved and what our opportunities are. The challenge is to go out and respond, not take a step backward. I’m proud of the players for doing that. We’re leaving Vancouver on a mission and feel we’ve taken steps in the right direction.” 

Tournament Recap

The Eagles began their Pool B stretch against Fiji, who were physical from the start. The first minutes of the game were in Fiji’s control in USA territory, until Spiff Sedrick was able to break away and hand off to Steph Rovetti for the first USA try. Fiji responded immediately to keep the lead, but a yellow card gave USA advantage for the remainder of the first half, giving Sammy Sullivan the edge to skip over a tackle and add another five points to the Eagles tally. Fiji were quick to score at the second half, but the Eagles held them off, giving Ilona Maher opportunity to steal the ball in a Fiji line out and pass over to Ariana Ramsey on the wing to score the final try of the game and take the USA’s first win of the weekend, 21-17.

Heading into their match against Japan, the USA prepared for an organized opponent who worked to move the ball quickly. Japan proved their lethality on the opposition as they tricked the defense to get around and score twice. Ilona Maher scored an epic breakaway try to put USA on the board, but it would be Japan in the lead heading to halftime. The Eagles found control of the ball to slow down the game in the second half, leading to Kayla Canett and Ariana Ramsey weaving their way around Japan defense for two more tries. Alev Kelter was the final one over the try line on the wing to secure another USA win, 26-14.

The Eagles knew their final Pool B matchup against Australia would be a tough test, and they went in prepared to fight. Australia was quick to start, and they won a wrestle for the ball to score the first points. Naya Tapper put in the work for the USA, winning possession back in rucks several times, giving an opportunity for Spiff Sedrick to break away and score to end the first half. The second half continued the physical fight for possession and urgency on both sides. The Eagles continued to try to find space, when Ilona Maher was able to break away and offload to Steph Rovetti for the finisher, notching her 10th career try. The USA put on the defensive pressure as the seconds ticked down, keeping a frantic Australian side at bay long enough to go to extra time. As the extra time whistle kicked off, Cheta Emba won the ball immediately, and the USA inched toward the try line, but Australia capitalized on a fumbled ball and ran end to end to win the game 12-17. 

The USA’s quarterfinal matchup was a border battle against hosts Canada. With the crowd backing them, an energized Canada was matching the Eagles’ pressure as they fought for the ball. The first half began slow, with a lot of set pieces ticking down the time. The score remained 0-0, with both teams fighting hard and physical, until seconds left in the first half. A yellow card to Spiff Sedrick gave Canada a power play chance to score, where Alena Olsen took another yellow card. With a two-man advantage, Canada upped their score by 12 points heading into the second half. Ariana Ramsey put in the work on the wing to score two tries for the USA in the second half, while defenses and a yellow card to the hosts kept Canada from scoring again. But Canada’s home crowd kept the energy up for the home team, giving them the 10-12 win and sending the USA off to the 5th place playoff. 

Rallying from a tough quarterfinal, the USA came full circle to play Fiji in a fifth place playoff. The Eagles were dominant from the start, and it was a full team effort to keep the ball in play. On defense, the squad put the pressure on, letting Fiji make mistakes that the USA could capitalize on. Sarah Levy made big impacts throughout the game, notching two tries within the first minutes of the game. The team stayed connected well especially in the first half, giving Alev Kelter and Ariana Ramsey the space to push through for more USA points. In the second half, Fiji took a yellow card, giving USA a power play for Sammy Sullivan to score another five points. As the game progressed, the Eagles got a little scrambled on attack, losing the ball. Ramsey took a yellow card for an intentional knock on, and Fiji took full advantage to score their only points of the game. The dominant effort by the USA paid off, winning them the fifth place match 29-7. 

With highs and lows to take away, the team heads back to Chula Vista for a few days before heading up to Los Angeles for their home tournament. HSBC Los Angeles SVNS begins Friday, March 1, live on RugbyPass.

USA Women's Sevens Roster | 2024 Vancouver SVNS
Name Position HSBC Tournaments
1. Cheta Emba Prop 32
2. Ilona Maher Center/Prop 26
3. Kayla Canett Flyhalf 25
5. Alev Kelter Center / Prop 43
6. Alena Olsen Scrumhalf 20
7. Naya Tapper (C) Wing 37
10. Steph Rovetti Scrum Half / Fly Half 12
12. Kristi Kirshe Prop/Hooker 22
13. Sarah Levy Hooker 7
17. Spiff Sedrick Center 16
21. Ariana Ramsey Wing 5
22. Sammy Sullivan Prop/Hooker 10
23. Lauren Doyle (C) Fly Half 42
USA Women’s Sevens Traveling Staff | 2024 Vancouver SVNS

Head Coach | Emilie Bydwell

Assistant Coach | Zack Test

Strength & Conditioning | Trey Ford

Athletic Trainer | Nicole Titmas

Sports Psychologist | Peter Haberl

Media Manager | Taylor Dean

USA Women’s Sevens Vancouver Results

Pool B

v Fiji | 21-17 (W)

v Japan | 26-14 (W)

v Australia | 12-17 (L)


QF v Canada | 10-12 (L)

5th Place Playoff v Fiji | 29-7 (W)