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With a thrilling finish, the United States knocked off second place Australia 10-5 in the Atlanta 7s Cup quarterfinals. Kristen Thomas scored a try with no time remaining on the clock to beat Australia and head to the Cup Semi-finals.
Things started poorly for the Eagles as they let the opening kickoff bounce because it appeared to have not gone 10-meters. However, the kick barely reached the required distance and Australia pounced on the ball. Two passes later, Emilee Cherry beat a defender and went in untouched for a 5-0 lead seconds into the game.
The Eagles took the kickoff and immediately committed a penalty at the breakdown. The United States stymied the attack and a forward pass gave the ball back to the States. The Eagle offense moved forward after breaking through the Australian line but was dragged into touch inside the Australian 22 meter line.
The United States took control of the first half, earning three consecutive penalties. A fourth penalty garnered a yellow card from the referee and the Eagles held a man advantage for two minutes. Off the penalty, Katie Johnson stepped a defender and scored the game-tying try.
Despite playing down a player, Australia took the kickoff and spun it left. Australia outflanked the United States defense but a try saving tackle from behind by Lauren Doyle kept the game tied going into the break.
Australia controlled possession for the first two minutes of the second half but tenacious defense from the Eagles kept Australia off the board. Lauren Doyle once again made a try saving tackle into to touch to earn possession back for the United States.
Several knock-ons thwarted the US attack but strong defense kept earning the Eagles possession. The United States worked down the field but bruising defense from Australia forced the Eagles to work down the field methodically. Jessica Javalet ended up isolated down the left sideline and took a penalty for not releasing. With just over a minute to play the game was even at 5-5.
Australia worked down the field after the penalty but forward pass ended the Australian attack. With no time remaining on the clock, the Eagles earned a penalty for a high tackle. The United States continued pressing and after a number of phases Megan Bonny found Kristen Thomas with zeros on the clock to knock off one of the tournament heavyweights.
Despite the early seconds, the Eagles displayed tremendous poise and tenacity defensively. They shut out a strong Australian side for over 14 minutes after the early score. With the 10-5 victory, the Eagles defeated the second place team in the World Series and move on to the Cup semis later this afternoon.