Clifford to return to action with USA Women’s Eagles Sevens
So they head to North Carolina this weekend in search of a second chance, and this time they will bring a second Alaskan.
Eagle River’s Lorrie Clifford is back with the national team and fellow 2009 Chugiak High graduate Alev Kelter for the NACRA Sevens Championships as the Americans fight for Rio 2016 Olympic berth.
“I am excited to be traveling and get a chance to represent our country and get to play games again with the team,” Clifford told me. “It’s going to be amazing and it’s such a special opportunity to do it on our own soil.”
Kelter is coming off her most impressive showing with the Eagles Sevens at last month’s IRB Sevens World Series finale in Amsterdam.
The former University of Wisconsin soccer and hockey player scored in a couple different ways, including in a 15-14 loss to England in game that awarded the winner an Olympic berth.
Kelter has amassed 4 tries and 3 conversations as rookie.
Clifford has also scored for the Eagles Sevens in her rookie season, but she missed last month’s tournament in Amsterdam because USA coach Ric Suggitt opted to take different players.
“Coach believed those players would succeed and I believe in his choices and have full confidence in the players that went,” Clifford said. “We have a lot of athletes giving everything they have, which means we won’t always get invited to the dances.”
Clifford, a former basketball player at Western Oregon University, is grateful she can help the Americans punch their ticket to the Olympics.
“We have a very hard-working team going and each player is willing to push themselves as far as they can go to get the job done and get us qualified for 2016,” Clifford said. “Rugby is all about playing for the person next to you; always being there and always having one another’s backs.”
Team USA hits the field Saturday for pool play games against Jamaica, Barbados and the Cayman Islands. The tournament wraps up Sunday.
“It’s a huge tournament and each player has all the motivation they need,” Clifford said. “We know we can’t underestimate anyone. Sevens is too fast to let up for even a second. It takes everything you have.”