LVI 2016 Day Four: Falcons, BHSAAs end Las Vegas trip in Semifinals
LAS VEGAS - The USA Falcons presented by Penn Mutual had their time at Sam Boyd Stadium cut short Sunday in the Las Vegas Invitational's Women's Elite 7s Cup Semifinal, a 24-5 loss to France Select.
Jules McCoy's squad could not follow in its male counterparts' footsteps following the men's team's undefeated Americas Cup 7s run that concluded in the Final Saturday. The Falcons eased through pool play earlier in the week, conceding just five points in two matches Thursday before two additional shutouts - in the final match of pool play and the Cup Quarterfinal.
Developmental sides from Canada and England played to a last-second decision in the first Semifinal at Sam Boyd Stadium, which is hosting the fifth round of the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, while the U.S. developmental side played France's in its knockout match.
France received the opening restart and slowly moved down the pitch with the Falcons giving up a few meters at the most at any given phase. The opening try-scorer was able to stay out of Meya Bizer's reach along the touch line for France's 5-0 lead after two minutes.
The Falcons held onto possession following the try and drew a few penalties with strong runs and clinical work in the breakdown to protect the ball. France did not pile players into the tackle area, however, instead opting to spread the defense and pressure the U.S. scrum half, which forced a turnover. While the Falcons regained possession and drew more penalties, France pounced on a loose pass to bring the halftime score to 10-0.
France extended its lead with a converted try when a Falcons knock behind their 22 gifted the scoring play with a set piece. Rachel Griendling and Kate Zackary combined for an attacking run on the ensuing kickoff that brought the Falcons within scoring position in France's half, and Zackary finished off the attack a few phases later by beating two defenders to the try line.
There was not enough time for the Falcons to mount a comeback, and France added a final try for a 24-5 score line.
McCoy had previously discussed the team's play heading into the final day at Sam Boyd Stadium, knowing there was still work to do as always. Several of these athletes will move on to the invitational tournaments alongside the next men's Series stop in Vancouver, hoping to cement a place with the Women's Eagles Sevens for their own home tournament - HSBC Atlanta 7s.
"I'm never satisfied with our performance because every coach wants a perfect performance, even though we know full well there's no such thing," McCoy said at the end of the second day of competition. "I am happy for the players, because, when they get to operate as a team doing something together, they're happy about their experience.
"Having a good experience versus having a good performance can be two different things. You can win games with a bad performance; you can lose games with a fantastic performance. The key is having a good performance with a good experience and getting those together all the time. I am happy for them because they're having a good experience."
Salty Thompson's Boys High School All-Americans were knocked out of their under-18 division Saturday in the Plate Semifinals after winning two of their pool matches earlier in the competition.
A loss to open the tournament saw the BHSAAs deal with some inconsistencies in the set pieces, though they battled through the adversity against Maryland Exiles in a 24-10 defeat. Thompson utilized the full complement of his roster by starting most of the first match's bench in the second, a 33-12 win against National Athletic Village Selects.
The BHSAAs finished out the day with a 24-7 defeat of a talented Utah Rugby Academy side.
"They played a little bit tense," Thompson said of the BHSAAs' early performances. "I think they put expectations on themselves. Getting that teamwork, getting that trust - I think we struggled at times.
"And this division gets more competitive [each year], because we had 111 guys that have been in [BHSAA] camps, they're spread all over these teams. They're coming out wanting to beat us for good reason: 'you didn't pick me.' There's some talent out here."
The ATAVUS All-Stars ended the BHSAAs' Cup hopes in the Quarterfinals, a close, 19-14, affair, and Eagle Impact Rugby Academy shut out the All-Americans, 40-0, in their final match.
The BHSAAs will next play rugby sevens in July, but will face Canadian opposition in the 15s game at the end of June. More details on those tours will be announced later.
USA Falcons sponsored by Penn Mutual | Las Vegas Invitational
1. Carmen Farmer
2. Meya Bizer
3. Kate Zackary
4. Ashley Perry
5. Nicole Heavirland
6. Irene Gardner
7. Ryan Carlyle
8. Hunter Griendling
9. Richelle Stephens
10. Jessica Javelet
11. Kristen Thomas
12. Naya Tapper
USA Falcons sponsored by Penn Mutual | Las Vegas Invitational
v. Brazil Women's 7s - W 36-0
v. Stars Rugby 2 - W 40-5
v. South Africa Select - W 22-0
Cup QF v. Stars Rugby 1 - W 34-0
Cup SF v. France Select - L 24-5
USA Rugby Boys High School All-Americans | 2016 Las Vegas Invitational
|First Name||Last Name||Grade||Height||Weight (lbs.)||Club||State|
|Luke||Bienstock||12||6'1"||195||Greenwich High School||CT|
|Grant||Broeder||12||5'9"||183||Eureka High School||MO|
|Taylor||Damron||12||5'11"||170||Back Bay Sharks||CA|
|Ruben||de Haas||11||5'11"||180||Little Rock Junior Stormers||AR|
|Christian||Dyer||12||6'2"||195||Jesuit High School of Sacramento||CA|
|Leki||Fotu||12||6'6"||250||Herriman High School||UT|
|Mikaele||Kruse||12||6'1"||187||Bullard High School||CA|
|Sim||Mander||12||6'1"||200||St. Paul's School||England|
|Jack||Miller||12||6'1"||191||Brookline High School||MA|
|Soh||Nakayama||12||5'9"||142||Greenwich High School||CT|
|Tomasi||Tonga||12||6'0"||205||Herriman High School||UT|
|Marcos||Young||11||5'11"||165||Key Biscayne Rats||FL|
Boys High School All-Americans | Las Vegas Invitational
v. Maryland Exiles - L 24-10
v. National Athletic Village Selects - W 33-12
v. Utah Rugby Academy - W 24-7
Cup QF v. ATAVUS All-Stars - L 19-14
Plate SF v. Eagle Impact Rugby Academy - L 40-0