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LAS VEGAS, NV. - The USA Women's Falcons have named their 12-player roster for the annual Las Vegas Invitational (LVI) taking place Feb 28 - Mar 2 alongside the senior men's HSBC USA Sevens tournament.
Led by Women's Sevens Head Coach Chris Brown and Head of Physical Performance Matt Long, the roster will feature three players who have yet to debut for the national team in Jazmine Gray, Eti Haungatau and Nikki Kenyon; as well as one capped Women's Eagle (15s) in Jennine Duncan and nine senior Eagles Sevens players.
The Falcons will play in the Women's Elite Sevens division along with five more USA resident-athletes competing with one of the other 15 senior club teams. Among them are Naya Tapper, Kasey McCravey and Ashlee Byrge with CCIG; as well as Nana Fa'avesi and Kate Herren with Scion Rugby. A schedule will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
With the main HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series on a break until late April, the LVI tournament will fill the gap with valuable competitive playing opportunities for new and experienced Women's Sevens players. In total, the women's program will see 70% of its resident-athletes involved in the competition.
Further, in using the break in senior play as an asset to develop pathway players, the Women's Falcons will scrimmage athletes of the Hawk Eye program as part of their preparation for LVI. Players in the Hawk Eye program will first engage in a training camp beginning Feb 21 with the scrimmage taking place on Feb 25. All athletes in the Hawk Eye development camp roster came from USA Rugby's All-American programs.
General Manager for Women's High Performance Emilie Bydwell said: "Looking at the year, we recognized that the prolonged break between Sydney and Japan presented a unique opportunity to accelerate the development of athletes in our Women's Sevens program. It's difficult for the Hawk Eye program to assemble during the school year, but having this event over a long weekend gave us a mid-year opportunity to both see how players are progressing and set development plans as summer programming picks up. The combination of competing at LVI and our added training games the week of March 11 allow our program to maximize the second half of the year; integrating some of our remote pool players to continue tracking their development."
The USA Men's Falcons will also compete at the Las Vegas Invitational with a roster and schedule to be announced in the coming weeks. Competition takes place across three locations in the greater Las Vegas valley including Heritage Park, Silver Bowl Sports Complex and Star Nursery Fields.
USA Falcons / Las Vegas Invitational
1) Hope Rogers / 7s Residency
2) Jazmine Gray / Raleigh
3) Meya Bizer / 7s Residency
4) Eti Haungatau / 7s Residency
5) Alev Kelter / 7s Residency
6) Jordan Matyas / 7s Residency
7) Jennine Duncan / Seattle Saracens
8) Nikki Kenyon / 7s Residency
9) Stephanie Rovetti / 7s Residency
10) Alena Olsen / 7s Residency
11) Kristi Kirshe / 7s Residency
12) Kiki Morgan / 7s Residency