Friday, March 3, 2017

Vegas 7s Women: Eagles Beat Fiji, Make Quarterfinals

The Women Eagles 7s have booked a place in the quarterfinals at the Las Vegas 7s with a gritty 14-7 win over Fiji. Heading into the match the Eagles needed a win to guarantee their spot in the top eight tomorrow but given Fiji's form the result wasn't always certain. Head coach Richie Walker will have to be pleased with the way his team came through in the end.

The first possession belonged to the Eagles and they nearly had a score as Ryan Carlyle broke through but it didn't last as the ball was spilled. That nearly allowed Fiji to escape the other way for a try of their own if it weren't for Naya Tapper doing the hard work to track back and save the try. Fiji still had possession but the U.S. defense stayed firm and was eventually able to clear the ball. Still, Fiji's pressure would eventually pay off as they scored to go up 7-0.

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Despite the try this was a match the U.S. willed themselves to win. Led by Alev Kelter the Eagles upped their speed and physicality. Kelter was the first to break through as she slipped a couple of tackles and went in for the score. At halftime the match was tied at 7-7.

In the second half Fiji dominated possession for nearly three minutes but a combination of simple errors from them and a strong defense from the Eagles kept them off the board. It would be the Eagles that would turn their defense into a try. After being stuck in their own end for awhile the Eagles were finally able to find Naya Tapper in space to let her do her thing and go in for the try.  From there the U.S. defense held firm to preserve the result.

With matches still to play on the day the Eagles quarterfinal opponent is yet to be determined. 

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