Monday, August 8, 2016

Olympic 7s: U.S. Get Revenge On Fiji

Fighting off the disappointment of missing out on the medal round the U.S. earned a come from behind win to beat Fiji 12-7 in their 5-8th place semi-final. The team will now move on to play France this afternoon in the 5th place match. The win over Fiji helped atone for their earlier loss to Fiji in pool play, ironically by the same score. While the Fijian defense was strong it was the impact of second half substitutes like Richelle Stephens that made the difference.

Both teams started out with several handling errors but there was no question the momentum was with Fiji. The Fijians looked like they were picking up right where they left off against the Eagles on Saturday but keeping possession and slowly working their way down the pitch. The U.S. were resilient in defense but when they did win the ball back from Fiji they unfortunately coughed it back up with a needless error. The first breakthrough finally came for Fiji as Rebecca Tavo slipped through the defense to put Fiji up 7-0.

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Possible buoyed by the presence of Matthey McConaughey on the sidelines (joking of course but he was there) the Eagles came out in the second half with much more possession. It was almost a complete flip of the script from the first half as the Eagles went through a number of phases only to be stymied by the Fijian defense.

Eventually the U.S. pressure proved to be too much as Alev Kelter slipped through a couple of tackles to rumble down the middle of the pitch for the try. She hit the easy conversion and the score was level at 7-7. Just a couple of minutes later the Eagles were right back at it. Good interplay between Richelle Stephens and Kathryn Johnson, who has been impressive all weekend, saw Stephens dive over for the try. The conversion missed but the U.S. led 12-7.

Fiji pressed hard for their second try but the U.S. defense held firm and earned a huge penalty to kill off the match.

The U.S. will now face France at 5:00 p.m. et/2:00 p.m. pt for 5th place.

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