USA Eagles
14
Russia
19
Women's Sevens
Allianz Stadium
Women's Sevens@Allianz Stadium
January 27, 201710:06 am AEDT
Sydney 7s

Women's Sevens fall a try short of Sydney 7s Cup Semis

Late pair of tries not enough to edge Russia.  |    Mike Lee - KLC Fotos

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - Despite a 1-2 record in Pool play the day prior, the Women's Eagles Sevens still found themselves in Cup contention at the beginning of Day Two at Allianz Stadium. Facing a defensively sturdy Russian team, Richie Walkers squad took the pitch with a fair amount of promise to once again reach the Sydney 7s final. With and early deficit and the Russians living up to their point-resistant reputation, the US fell 14-19 in the Cup quarterfinal. 

Having only allowed 38 points total in pool play, the US needed to take advantage of each possession. The opening kick off offered a gift in that department as Russia immediately gave the ball over thanks to an illegal kick. The Women's Sevens were able to begin in place with a set ball. Russia would regain possession shortly after however with a loud hit on Naya Tapper who lost her grip on the ball, rolling out to touch. Giving Tapper quality opportunities proved to be a challenge through our the match. 

Alena Mikhaltsova put Russia on the board first after a beautiful wrap around at mid-field. She would miss the ensuing conversion however. 

Again hoping to find Tapper on the outside, Tia Blythe missed an opportunity to do so when dishing the ball out moments too late. Tapper gathered in the ball, but in time surrounded by tackles. 

Speedster Elena Zdrokova - argued to be the fastest in the tournament - showed off her pace with a pitch-length dash for 5 points. Traded turnovers would finish up the first half. The United States still only 12 points behind, kept confident. 

Richie Walker addressed his team at the break, "Two turnovers, two tries. It's that simple. Pass early to the outside, go head on and move the ball."

US points would finally emerge after Hope Rogers did what Hope Rogers does best, run hard and break tackles. Dragging defenders along the right flank, Rogers drew the defense from mid-field, opening space for Alev Kelter to dot down between the posts. With the conversion good, fans kept an eye on the uprights knowing the early missed conversion from Russia could provide a deciding factor. 

Short on time, Cheta Emba took advantage of a fortuitous bounce off the kick that seemed to surprise Russia as she waltzed right in for another try in under 5 seconds. The US were now a try and conversion away from winning with 3 minutes left and a score of 14-19. 

Emba fought for possession again, deep in US territory, giving an opportunity with just over a minute remaining. Unfortunately a rare fumble from Kelter gave the ball back and eventually time ran out. Though a tough loss, the Women's Sevens put on a worth while comeback for the fans. 

Next up, Spain at 8:33PM ET LIVE on The Rugby Channel.

Women's Eagles Sevens Roster | Sydney 7s Tournament

Tia Blythe
Sarah Buonopane
Ryan Carlyle
Cheta Emba
Jordan Gray
Abby Gustaitis
Nicole Heavirland (C)
Alev Kelter
Natalie Kosko
Kiki Morgan
Hope Rogers
Naya Tapper

Women's Eagles Sevens Staff | Sydney 7s Tournament

Richie Walker, Head Coach
Sarah Leslie, Athletic Trainer 
Jon Hood, Head of Physical Preparation
Dave Gardner, Analyst
Liz Strohecker, Team Manager

Women's Eagles Sevens Schedule | Pool B | Sydney 7s Tournament

LIVE on The Rugby Channel
vs. England | L 24-28
vs. Japan | W 38-0
vs. New Zealand | L 0-31