BOULDER, CO — After much deliberation and with only a few days remaining until the team departs for Europe, head coach Pete Steinberg has named the 30 players that will be competing for the Women’s Eagles on its upcoming tour. The traveling roster was narrowed down from the final 43-player pool to round out the roster that will be squaring off against Italy and France.
Steinberg noted that due to the club championships currently ongoing, the delay in naming the squad was done intentionally with the possibility of injuries occurring. All players on the roster are currently in a seasonal competition.
“We want the girls competing and injuries are bound to happen through those competitions,” said Steinberg. “At the same point we wanted to limit the number of changes the coaching staff must make to the roster because of those injuries.”
Nine uncapped players will have the chance to make their international debuts, while veteran Jamie Burke is looking to boost her numbers towards becoming the most capped player in Women’s Eagles history. Burke currently holds 32 caps.
Four college students highlight the roster in Sadie Anderson (Penn State University), Amelia Bizer (University of St. Mary (KS)), Jessica Davis (American International College) and Ashley Okonta (University of Notre Dame). Despite all having represented the Eagles previously, Bizer, Davis, and Okonta are looking to gain their first international 15’s caps. Bizer is capped in 7’s while Davis and Okonta represented the Eagles on the age-grade level.
Steinberg mentioned that the collegiate players were selected as part of the team moving forward and preparing for the 2014 World Cup.
“This is a move to help [the inexperienced players] gain experience and help the team as we move forward. We don’t know who is going to be on the team in two years, so it is to our advantage to give younger players, who may very well step up and overtake a veteran player, a chance to play.” said Steinberg.
The front three have claimed the most slots on the touring side, with eight in total. However, six out of those eight are props. Three of those props, Katy Augustyn, Davis, and Sarah Wilson are entering the tour without an international appearance, while the others, Burke, Sarah Chobot, and Rachel Reddick, combine for 41 total appearances. Augustyn will also be filling in at hooker, along with Lisa Butts and Kittery Wagner.
The scrumhalf position is also well represented with three players making the trip. Ashley Kmiecik is the most veteran of the squad but is in neck-and-neck competition with Jennifer Lui and Caroline White for the starting spot.
“The decision to bring the depth that we are is for in-game purposes. Each player we selected brings a unique style to the game and we want to see which combinations work the best.”
Two contracted 7′s players have been selected for the tour to Europe. Kaelene Lundstrum and Kimber Rozier will make the transition from 7′s to 15′s.
Sylvia Braaten, Rebecca Brafmann and Tess Kohanski were considered for selection, but have been subsequently removed for various reasons.
The Women’s Eagles play Italy (Nov. 18) and twice against France (Nov. 21, 24). Match time is set for 3 PM (9 AM EST) against Italy, while the matches against France will begin at 7 PM (1 PM EST) and 3 PM (9 AM EST) respectively.
In total the squad will spend thirteen days abroad in what will be the final European tour before returning to Paris for the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
|Kate||Daley||Chicago North Shore|
|Lynelle||Kugler||Twin Cities Amazons|
|Shaina||Turley||San Diego Surfers|
|Sharon||Blaney||Oregon Sports Union|
|Stacey||Bridges||Twin Cities Amazons|
|Helen Rose||Miesner||New York Rugby Club|
|Emily||Van Gulik||Berkeley All-Blues|
|Lisa||Butts||Northern California Triple Threat|
|Jessica||Davis||American International College|
|Rachel||Reddick||Northern California Triple Threat|
|Ashley||Kmiecik||Emerald City Mudhens|
|Sadie||Anderson||Penn State University|
|San Juanita||Moreno||Oregon Sports Union|
|Valerie||Griffeth||San Diego Surfers|
|Ashley||Okonta||University of Notre Dame|