By Karen Price | Oct. 06, 2019, 10:35 p.m. (ET)

Members of the U.S. women's team celebrate winning the HSBC Women's Sevens cup final on Oct. 6, 2019 in Glendale, Colo.

 

Coming off the team’s best season in franchise history, the U.S. women’s rugby sevens opened this Olympic season with a bang, beating Australia in the HSBC Women’s Sevens cup final in Glendale, Colorado. 

Nicole Heavirland’s two tries in the second half helped propel the women to victory on home soil for the first time ever with a 26-7 trouncing of their opponent to start the 2019-20 season. The win also marked the squad's first-ever back-to-back cup titles.

After beating Canada in the quarterfinal, 29-26, then defeating New Zealand – last year’s champions – in the semifinal, 19-17, the U.S. was ready to finish things off.

Alev Kelter got things started for the women with a score to make it 7-0 but Australia responded with a try of their own to tie things up at 7-7. 

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Just before halftime, the U.S. took a 12-7 lead, and, coming out of the break, it was Heavirland who bumped the U.S. advantage up to 19-7. She wasn’t finished. Heavirland again scored and, with the U.S. leading 26-7. Australia was unable to recover.

Last year, the U.S. medaled in five of six tournaments and took gold for the first time in the season finale. Ranked No. 2 in the world, the U.S. has qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and won a silver medal at the Pan American Games. 

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.