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Eagles - Photo: Bill English

Disclaimer: Phaidra Knight is a current Eagle training at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.  She has represented the US as both a sevens and fifteens player since 1999.  She can be contacted at [email protected]

It was a slow start to the day for the Eagles as they faced France in the Cup quarters. Early in the first half, France capitalized on a penalty deep in US territory, sending the ball through hands and scoring to claim a 0-5 lead.  France continued to mount pressure against the Eagles, committing two defenders to the tackle and effectively shutting off any offload options.  Unforced errors plagued the US offense as they were unable to advance too far out of their own territory.  With 20 seconds remaining in the first half, France scored again, widening the gap 0-10.  Into the second half, France continued it’s defensive pressure, keeping the Eagles within their own 22.  At moments when the US would make a break, the support was one step too late and French defenders would create the turnover by either poaching or forcing the penalty for failure to release the ball.  When there were opportunities to move the ball quickly through the hands to unopposed offenders, the Eagles would take the ball in to contact, forgoing opportunities to advance downfield.  France scored one final try to shut out the US 0-17.   France advanced to the Cup semifinals and the US to the Plate semifinals.

The Eagles faced Australia in the Plate semifinals, their second match of the day.  Early one, Captain Kelly Griffin picked up a loose ball, offloaded to Victoria Folayan who linked up with Lauren Doyle to finish with a try, giving the Eagles a 5-0 lead.  Determined to not repeat their earlier performance versus France, the Eagles, capitalized off a penalty for not releasing against Australia.  After quick movement through the hands, Folayan touched it down for the second try of the match, extending the US lead to 10-0.   She followed it up with a big run which ultimately set Doyle up for her second try of the match, giving the Eagles a 15-0 lead at intermission.   Folayan continued her domination into the second half, first scoring off of the opening kick off and then following it up with her third try (hattrick).   Australia answered with two tries but it was too little too late.  The Eagles advanced to the Plate final defeating Australia 29-10. 

It was the rematch they wanted as the Eagles met Canada in the Plate final.  Early on, it was Canada that demonstrated great pace onto the ball, scoring first to take the lead 0-5.  But just when the US seemed to be outnumbered defensively, Folayan powered through a few defenders, breaking free, and scoring between the posts to set up the easy conversion for Alev Kelter.   The US was up 7-5.  The Eagles remained composed with little time left in the first half.  The capitalized on a penalty against Canada and Folayan, once again, made a big run to try glory and gave the US a 14-5 lead at half.  The highly contested rivalry continued into the second half with the Eagles showing persistence in their defensive stand and Canada putting together excellent phases of play offensively.  Eventually, Canada broke through, scoring a converted try and closing the gap 14-12.  Canada regained possession shortly after their kickoff and worked their way into US territory but then knocked the ball on just meters shy of the try line.  The US won their scrum put in on the ten-meter line and sent the ball back to Doyle who ran 95 meters to score perhaps her most important try of the weekend.   The Eagles held Canada off to claim the Plate with a score of 19-12.  The win was an enormous moral victory. 

The Eagles are currently in fifth place with 48 points (along with England) in the 2014-2015 Women’s Sevens World Series standings.  The next stop on the circuit is England Women’s 7s May 15-16.

Eagles For Canada Women’s Sevens

  1. Kathryn Johnson
  2. Kelly Griffin
  3. Megan Bonny
  4. Alev Kelter
  5. Akalaini (Bui) Baravilala
  6. Lauren Doyle
  7. Victoria Folayan
  8. Joanne Fa’avesi
  9. Irene Gardner
  10. Melissa Fowler
  11. Kate Zachary
  12. Kristen Thomas

 Eagles Coaching Staff

Ric Suggitt, Head Coach

Richie Walker, Assistant Coach

JoAnne Kos, Team Manager

Dr. Lisa Bartoli, Team Physician

Nicole Titmas, Physiotherapist