Kelter keys Team USA’s upset over world champ New Zealand
Eagle River’s Alev Kelter converted the winning conversion with no time on the clock as the U.S. women’s national rugby sevens team pulled off a massive upset of five-time defending world champion New Zealand 14-12 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
With her team trailing 12-7 with no time remaining, American Kelsi Stockart slipped past the Kiwis and ran 70 meters untouched for a tying five-point try.
Kelter – the former University of Wisconsin soccer player – then kicked a chip-shot two-point conversion to secure the quarterfinal win in the Dubai 7s tournament.
It was a stark reversal of fortunes from the last match of pool play, when the Kiwis blasted the U.S. 45-14. It was also the first win over New Zealand after four straight defeats.
In the semifinals, the 26-year-old Alaskan again played hero for the U.S. as she racked up 14 points in a 21-12 victory over Russia.
Kelter, of Chugiak High fame, scored the game’s first try and conversion to spot the Americans a 7-0 lead. Her second try made it 12-0 and her second conversion made it 21-12.
The U.S. lost 34-0 to Australia in the Dubai tournament final. The runner-up result was a much better showing compared to the previous two years when the U.S. finished 11th.
That progress is tied to Kelter, who finished fourth in the tournament with seven conversions and extended her streak to 20 of consecutive tournaments played since joining the national rugby team in 2014.