Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hong Kong 7's: Women Eagles Preview

The U.S.A. Women Eagles head into this weekend's Hong Kong Women's Challenge Cup primed for a breakout performance. The core of the squad has roughly been together since the beginning of December, either in camp or in residency, and has time to come together as a unit. Ric Suggitt really has his players believing in his system and he has don't a great job getting them to perform. Despite having a split squad in Las Vegas, the Eagles were able to grab second place to a hot Canadian side. True, that tournament didn't feature Australia or England, but it did feature the Canadians and an under-rated Dutch team. Hong Kong will be the perfect test to see how far the Women Eagles have come in such a short time.

You can follow all the action on the Women's Challenge Cup website or on

The Opponents:

The Eagles are in Pool D with Spain and Tunisia. The team should have no problem with these two teams, both of whom are regularly inexperienced. Tunisia is a relative unknown and the Eagles should be able to jump all over them. Spain are more well known, they even won the plate in Dubai, but still shouldn't pose a problem for the Eagles. Their players may not have enough size or strength to compete with the best teams in the world, but they certainly have the savvy and kicking ability.

Hong Kong will feature the best teams in the world and the Eagles really benefitted by getting and easy group. Australia will have to play the Netherlands in Pool C, and England and China are in Pool B. Only the pool winners advance to the Cup semi-finals so having an easier pool like the U.S. will be crucial. If the U.S. wins their pool, they will have to play either Australia or the Netherlands. Both teams represent a tough challenge but one the Eagles are ready to take on.


Eagles vs. Spain, Thursday 8:30 p.m. et/5:30 p.m. pt
Eagles vs. Tunisia, Thursday 11:10 p.m. et/8:10 p.m. pt

The Team:

Experience is the key word for Ric Suggitt's team. Nine of the 12 players were on the Eagles team the placed 2nd in Las Vegas, while Kimber Rozier, Jane Paar, and Jillion Potter come in from the Stars & Stripes team. Veterans like Amy Daniels, Katie Dowty, Beth Black, and Irene Gardner will look to lead the team. One of the advantages the U.S. has on other teams is the play of their speedsters Vanesha McGee and Vix Folayan. If the team can swing the ball out wide, they will be unstoppable.

While the team may have a lot of experience, the tournament could come down to the youngsters. Deven Owsiany is the type of player that can transform a game and Jane Paar is a young players that will get some good experience that will only come in handy later. Overall, the team has the talent to go all the way.

Three of the eight (Kaelene Lundstrom, Kelly Griffin, and Bui Baravilala) will not be travelling with the team.


Amy Daniels (Beantown)
Deven Owsiany (USA Rugby)
Jillion Potter (USA Rugby)
Katie Dowty (USA Rugby)
Beth Black (NOVA)
Lauren Hoeck (NOVA)
Vanesha McGee (USA Rugby)
Jane Paar (Navy)
Christina Mastrangelo (Chicago North Shore)
Irene Gardner (Berkeley All-Blues)
Kimber Rozier (USA Rugby)
Vix Folayan (Berkeley All-Blues)


Expect the Eagles to make a great run in this tournament. Reports from Las Vegas prior to the tournament indicate that the team is firing on all cylinders and ready to go. Some teams like Australia and New Zealand could lose out after not participating in Hong Kong where the Eagles could be ready to go. Possibly avoiding Canada in the semi's could be a real advantage for the Eagles. In the end, the Eagles in it all.

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