Thursday, October 31, 2013

Falcons Named For NACRA 7's

Carlin Isles at the 2012 NACRA 7's.
Matt Hawkins and his staff have named the Falcons squad that will participate in the upcoming NACRA 7's. The program is using the tournament as an opportunity to get more time for players on the fringe as well as introduce several new players to the team. Central Washington head coach Tony Pacheco will be coaching the team.

Some of the familiar faces dotting the roster include Carlin Isles, Tai Enosa, Jack Halalilo, and Ryan Matyas. All four of those players were on the Eagles squad that participated in the Gold Coast 7's but all had various levels of playing time. Enosa was primed as one of the better players before the tournament but wasn't able to translate his training onto the pitch.  Halalilo needs more time to work on his aerial skills, and Isles and Matyas need more playing time period.

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Nate Augsperger missed out on the Gold Coast but will get his opportunity in the Cayman Islands. Shalom Suniula, who also missed out on the Gold Coast, was set to play but a calf injury has kept him out. 

Two members of the armed forces's World Class Athlete Program, Eric Duechle and Nu'u Punimata, will both play at the tournament. Mike Ziegler will also play. He just returned from playing in two tournaments in China with Tiger Rugby. According to Tiger Rugby coach James Walker, Ziegler was one of the better players on the team. 

Ben Nichols will also be on the squad in an effort to earn time on the series. Nichols was a standout for the Utah Warriors during their short existence. According to Pacheco, "Ben is a crafty player that understands the game well. He is a versatile player that makes players around him better."

Youngsters Pono Haitsuka and Chris Turori round out the roster. Pacheco got a chance to see Haitsuka up close and personal in the NCRC this fall. Haitsuka plays for Oregon State. Pacheco describes him as "lighting in a bottle. He's incredibly explosive and a tremendous defender in space. I'm excited for him to take the step." As for Tuirori, Pacheco says he "is a big and fast athlete with tremendous upside. He's only 20 years old and I'm excited to see what he can do.

The U.S. starts their NACRA 7's campaign on November 9th with matches against Pool B opponents Trinidad & Tobago, Cayman Islands, and Curacao.

Roster: Nate Augsperger, Eric Duechle, Tai Enose, Pono Haitsuka, Jack Halalilo, Carlin Isles, Ryan Matyas, Ben Nichols, Nu'u Punimata, Chris Turori, Mike Ziegler

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