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Team USA Wins Silver at Pan-Ams

  • 28 Jul 2019
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Team USA won Silver at the Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru, defeating opponents 175-19 until the final. There, Canada defeated the USA 24-10 in the Gold Medal match to retain its title.

The Eagles faced little resistance during pool play and shut out Trinidad & Tobago, Argentina and Colombia 142-0. The competition allowed newly capped 7s players like Ariana Ramsey and Emily Henrich to grow in the international arena. The Dartmouth duo handled themselves and saw Ramsey score eight tries and Henrich three. (Henrich is taking a gap year from Dartmouth and relocating Chula Vista in the Olympics run-up.)

Brazil put up good resistance in the semifinals, scoring three tries against the Americans in the 33-19 decision. Some vulnerabilities in the outside defense showed themselves and Bianca Dos Santos Silva put her long stride to good use in scoring two tries.

Canada spent the tournament putting up equally aggressive numbers, winning pool play games 134-20, and then shutting out Colombia 41-0 to advance to the final against the USA. In 2015, Canada won the Gold Medal 55-7 over the USA.

Abby Gustaitis got hands on the USA’s kickoffs, and although the tap looked backward, it was deemed forward for the turnover. Canada regrouped with the scrum and eventually moved the ball wide. At the last second, Naya Tapper pinched in on defense and Canada sent the pass over the wing’s head to Asia Hogan-Rochester for the pull-away try. Brianna Nicholas converted for the 7-0 lead after a minute and a half.

The USA responded nicely and built some nice phases into Canada’s end. Ilona Maher took the pass along the sideline, took contact square on, and won. Sara Kaljuvee saved the immediate scoring threat with a stellar ankle tap, but Maher got to her feet and got the pass off to Kayla Canett in support for the score, 7-5 to Canada.

Good defense forced Canada to fumble in the tackle, but then the USA lost the subsequent scrum in Canada’s end. Two not-rolling away penalties allowed a longer attack, and then a high tackle from Alena Olsen inside the USA 10 meter handicapped the Americans just before the break. After a couple of phases, the space opened up out wide for a second Hogan-Rochester try: 12-5 into the break.

The Americans were still down a player when the second half kicked off and subbed on Henrich and Ramsey for some fresh legs. Canada showed no sign of fatigue, on either side of the ball, and worked the USA defense sideline to sideline until it broke. The final pass to Hogan-Rochester produced Canada’s third try and Nicholas’ second conversion: 19-5.

The Canadian defense remained stout and was winning the territory battle late into the game. Henrich helped produce an opportunity, taking the ball into contact and drawing a penalty, but a turnover followed soon afterward near mid-field. As Canada built toward the try line, Cheta Emba flew off the line and nearly intercepted the pass to Nicholas, but the pass went to hand for the try, 24-5 with fewer than two minutes to go.

The game was essentially decided but the USA looked to close the deficit. Tapper gathered the batted restart and fed Maher along the sideline for the tear-away try, 24-10. Canett then kept the Eagles’ next restart and some good ball-running decisions allowed Olsen to feed Tapper out wide for a solid break into Canada’s 10 meter. The support was slow, however, a turnover followed, and a couple of kicks to touch ended the match.

What’s next for the 7s Eagles? The team will return to international competition with the onset of the 2019-20 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, which begins in Glendale, Colo., in early October. Players will be added to the residency in this run-up to the 2020 Olympics, and USA 7s staff will be scouting at the upcoming club 7s national championship and National Development Invitational Tournament the following weekend in Little Rock, Ark.

2019 PAN-AM GAMES

Results

Pool Play

55-0 W v Trinidad & Tobago

49-0 W v Argentina

38-0 W v Columbia

SF: 33-19 W v Brazil

Gold: 24-10 L v Canada

TEAM USA

Kayla Canett

Cheta Emba

Abby Gustaitis

Emily Henrich

Kristi Kirshe

Ilona Maher

Jordan Matyas (c)

Alena Olsen

Ariana Ramsey

Stephanie Rovetti

Naya Tapper

Lauren Thunen

#USA7s #PanAms

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