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Katy Johnson against Fiji. Ian Muir photo

The United States women went an impressive 3-0 on day one at Amsterdam 7s, the finale of the Women’s World Series. They opened with a 26-7 defeat of South Africa, followed that up with a 36-14 win over Fiji, and then finished with a 34-5 win over New Zealand – the team’s first ever.

Winning all three games was massively significant, with Olympic qualification on offer should the Eagles finish higher than France and England on the weekend, and the dominating fashion in which the USA went undefeated was big, but the way they thumped New Zealand was jaw dropping. Not only had the Eagles never beaten the Black Ferns before, they lost to them by 57 and 38 points on home soil a couple of months back.

The pool win sees the Eagles to a Cup Quarterfinal meeting with Spain at 4:44 a.m. ET Saturday. France and England draw unenviable pairings with Canada and New Zealand, respectively, so the Eagles could potentially sew up Olympic qualification with a win over Spain.

In the day’s first game, South Africa got on the board first with a converted try from Nosiphiwo Goda. But the Eagles would rip off 26 unanswered points to take the win. Vix Folayan scored two first-half tries for the USA, and Kelly Griffin and Lauren Doyle added two more in the contest.  

Katy Johnson got the party started against Fiji, scoring the opening try about 30 seconds in. Megan Bonny fielded the first kickoff, the Eagles swung the ball to one sideline, and then back to Johnson the other direction. She sliced easily through the Fijian defense and ran in for the score. Bui Baravilala converted to make it 7-0.

Bonny tacked on another converted try two minutes later. The Eagle defense put the Fijians under pressure, and as Baravilala made a tackle, Bonny intercepted a panicked offload and ran in. Barvilala tacked on two more points, putting the USA up 14-0.

Kristen Thomas scored the third try for the USA, picking from the base of an attacking ruck and running in untouched. Fiji’s defense cracked under pressure put on by carries from Lauren Doyle and Baravilala. The score was again converted, putting the Eagles up 21-0 going into the half.

Timaima Ravisa put Fiji on the board to open the second half, capping off a possession sparked by a chip and chase. Converted, the try pulled Fiji within 14.

A series of give-and-go offloads saw Alev Kelter cross over and re-extend the lead for the USA. She and Kristen Thomas connected to dismantle the Fijian defense. Baravilala’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful, and the Eagles led 26-7.

Shoddy tackling saw Asinate Savu streak in for another Fijian score right off the kickoff, but it was erased almost immediately by Doyle’s second. She took the restart, fended one defender and swerved around another for a try. The bang-bang scores left it at 31-14 to the USA.

Rebekah Siebach put one more in at the death to flatter the score line for the USA. She plucked the ball from the base of a Fijian ruck, turning the ball over, and ran in untouched.

In the historic win over New Zealand, Doyle scooped up a loose ball and scampered in for her third try of the day to put the USA on top early. The Black Ferns were hoping for a penalty at a break down, and while they stared at the red Doyle made them pay.

Thomas made it a two-score game when a Kiwi kick didn’t find hand and bounced to the Eagles. Thomas wound up with the ball and stretched her legs across the try line. Neither of the early conversions were made, and the USA led 10-0.

Thomas dove over again shortly thereafter. A pair of penalties on the Ferns helped in the process, as did a charging carry by Thomas to start the drive. The big wing was rewarded with an easy jog to pay dirt, giving the USA a 15-0 lead going into halftime.

Doyle danced in for another score to extend the lead at the onset of the second half. She cut against the grain as the first receiver off a ruck, slipping through Kiwi fingers and racing for a try. Johnson scored right off the kickoff, bumping the lead larger. The restart wasn’t won cleanly, but Bonny gathered the loose ball and dished to Johnson who ran in easily. With four tries to none, the Eagles led 27-0 midway through the second half.

Doyle earned the hat-trick not long after, taking an inverted line once again through the Kiwi defense. Baravilala converted, and the USA which had lost by 50 points to New Zealand earlier in the season, was up 34-0.

The Ferns would manage a score before the end of the contest, but it didn’t tarnish the remarkable, historic win for the USA.