Sunday, February 21, 2016

Brazil 7s: Eagles Finish In Cup Semi-finals

The Women Eagles 7s have atoned for their disappointing finish in Dubai with a fourth place finish at the Sao Paulo 7s. The team will now move on to preparations for the Atlanta 7s in April. By finishing fourth the U.S. have shown they can put themselves in medal contention at the Rio Olympics later in the year.

With the fourth place finish the U.S. have moved up into eighth place in the standings. Had they done better in Dubai they likely would have been knocking on a top four spot. With only three tournaments remaining on the year they will need to consistently finish in the top four to climb up the standings.

England 12-22 Eagles

First up for the team was England, a team that has ambitions of a medal in Rio. It was speed that would make the difference for the Eagles in this match. The first to get on the board was Kristen Thomas as she went nearly the length of the field for the try. Power helped the Eagles across next as good running for several players, including Alev Kelter, eventually saw the ball popped to Bui Baravilala for the try. Just like that the U.S. were up 12-0.

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Building off their efforts in the second two matches on day two the Eagles were especially strong on defense, halting England every chance they had. The one time the Eagles defense wasn't enough initially Kelter did well to track back and cause a turnover. Thomas would pick up that errant pass and go in for the try and a 17-0 lead at the break.

In the second half England would score twice to put the lead to 17-12 and put the U.S. in danger. However, keeping good possession the team was able to get a final try from Jessica Javelet.

Australia 34-0 Eagles

The win over England set up a semi-final clash with eventual champions Australia. Unfortunately for the Eagles they weren't able to keep their good mojo going from the previous match as they lost 34-0. Australia scored three tries in the opening half to lead 17-0 and then finished that off with an identical second half.

New Zealand 28-0 Eagles

It was a similar story in the third/fourth place match as the Eagles fell for the second time in the tournament to New Zealand, this time 28-0. The first half was close with both teams getting opportunities. New Zealand had the first chance and scored through Portia Woodman just a minute in. The U.S. had possession but New Zealand were too strong at the breakdown and were able to prevent the U.S. from scoring.  New Zealand scored three tries in the second match.

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