Monday, August 8, 2016

Olympic 7s: Women Beat France, Finish In Fifth

The Women Eagles inaugural trip to the Olympics has come to a close with a 19-5 win over France in the fifth place match. The Eagles once again showed their resilience going into halftime with a deficit only to rebound with an outstanding second half. In a game of inches the team will think back about what could have been able they been able to finish a couple of chances against Australia and New Zealand but at the same time will be incredibly pleased with the way they represented their country.

Like many of the Eagles matches this tournament both teams got off to a somewhat slow start as each team had a couple of handling errors. At the same time, the U.S. were playing loose like they had nothing to loose while the French looked a little tight. The tightness paid off early for France as they used a set play to go out wide for a try. It was a well worked play that was the culmination of several minutes of possession. At halftime France led 5-0.

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Just seconds into the second half the U.S. were able to breakaway for their first score. After the ball spilled on the restart Alev Kelter was there to pick it up and go in unscathed for the try. It was a great heads up play for Kelter who arguably was the best Eagles player of the tournament.

Soon after Kelter's try the U.S. were right back at it as substitute Jessica Javelet showed her speed to race around two defenders for the score. Just like that the Eagles held a 12-5 lead with three and a half minutes to go.

The momentum stayed with the Eagles as they kept possession and limited what France wanted to do. They finished the match off with a well worked try scored by Nana Fa'avesi. Carmen Farmer did well to bat the ball back on the restart and soon it went to Fa'avesi who stiff armed the defense to go in for the score and push the final result to 19-5.

The U.S. team has a lot to be proud of. They performed well at the highest level of their sport. Players that have worked hard for years to get to this point did their families and their countries proud with gutsy performance after gutsy performance. Most importantly, hopefully their play inspired a new generation of women rugby players to take up the mantle and fight hard for Tokyo in 2020.

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