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Ian Muir photo

The Eagles fell to 1-3 in Sydney, falling to Russia, 19-14 in the quarterfinals Saturday. Russia collected a 19-0 halftime lead, and the Eagles stormed back in the second half, but ran out of time and gas to complete the rally.

Russia offered the USA a break by not kicking the opening restart 10 meters. The Eagles knocked on, though, and Russia scored on its first possession. The conversion was missed – 5-0.

The Eagles look as lost in their second go with the ball, and Russia scored quickly through the midfield again. This time the kick was good, pushing the difference to 12-0.

The Americans had plenty of possession, forcing the Russians to make four times as many tackles in the first half as themselves, but they never seriously threatened the whitewash. The half would end shortly after a breakdown penalty against the USA for not releasing.

Russia slammed the door shut early in the second half with a big individual effort from Baizat Khamidova, who fended off both Abby Gustaitatis and Alev Kelter en route to her try.

The Eagles finally got on the board when Hope Rogers came on and produced some go-forward, being brought down twice, but releasing and returning to her feet between carries. Kelter then easily found a gap in the defense for a short-range score.

Within seconds, Cheta Emba added a second try when the kickoff bounced around and advantageously popped into her hands with no Russian defenders between her and the try line. She ran in and dotted down. With Kelter’s two conversions, the Eagles trailed by just four with three minutes to play.

The Americans had all the momentum, and they gobbled up a bunch of yards via a series of give-and-goes between Emba and Rogers, but Kelter knocked on while trying to shake a Russian defender free. Russia managed to keep possession until the final whistle, punting to touch for the win.