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Team USA

Team USA opened their Youth Olympic Games campaign with a 12-12 tie against Spain. The Americans initiated the attack in the opening minutes, stealing a scrum located on the right side of the field. The backline swiftly swung the ball through the hands out to Michel Navarro, who scampered in for the first try of the match. Richelle Stephens converted, giving Team USA a 7-0 lead.

Shortly after, Spain broke through the American defensive line and raced off for a fifty-meter try. Spain converted, tying the game at 7. Despite playing the majority of the first half in Spain’s half of the field, Team USA struggled to find their way into the try zone.

Spain started the scoring off in the second half with a long try down the sideline. The Americans funneled the grounding into the corner, leaving a difficult conversion that was missed short.

With about two minutes left, American flyhalf Richelle Stephens found a gap in the Spanish defense, before dishing off to Whitney Wilson. After being brought to ground at the five-meter line, Wilson popped off the ground back to Stephens who rain in for the try. The conversion was missed, leaving the match tied at 12. After the buzzer, Team USA was on their heals inside their own 22, and were fortunate to see Spain fail to execute a chip kick towards the sideline. The Americans gathered and kicked into touch to ensure the tie.

The girls, although disappointed with the outcome, remain poised and focused for the upcoming matches. “We fought for the entire match,” says USA Center Tiffany Person. “The scrums and restarts were really strong. We just need to get quick ball movement and continue to improve.”

In the other pool matches, Australia defeated Tunisia in the first match of the day. Australia has played several tournaments over the last few months and displayed that continuity, winning the match 31-0. China, whose team has been housed together in Nanjing for the past year to train, also looked strong in their 24-10 defeat of Canada. 

Match Venue: Olympic Sports Park
Game Time: 10:00 AM
Match Score: USA 12 - 12 Spain

Starting Lineup:
#1: Emily Prentice
#2: Kat Ramage
#6: Appau Mailau
#4: Tess Feury
#7: Michel Navarro
#10: Richelle Stephens
#12: Tiffany Person

Substitutes:
#3: Haley Langan
#5: Whitney Wilson
#8: Dana Olsen
#9: Becca Jane Rosko
#11:  Danielle Walko-Siua