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In their second match at the Las Vegas 7s, the USA Women faced Spain. Both Spain and USA entered the match 0-1, with USA losing to Ireland and Spain falling to Fiji. The Eagles played a strong second half and won 22-7.
USA regathered Alev Kelter’s opening kick and were immediately in Spain’s 22. Kelly Griffin went to the short side from a ruck and passed to Katherine Zackary who went into the try zone untouched. Kelter missed the conversion.
From a scrum just outside the Spain 22, USA was able to get over the gainline through a strong run by Kelter, but she was penalized for holding on, so Spain had a chance to attack from deep. After putting several phases together and using the full width of the field, Maria Losado found space out wide and went over to tie the match. Patricia Garcia kicked the conversion to put Spain up 7-5.
USA was able to win the restart cleanly, but unable to make anything happen from the ensuing possession. Spain, with a scrum feed just inside the USA half, saw Barbara Pla step through the USA defense, but the Eagles were awarded a penalty at the breakdown. Kelter wasted no time and picked the ball from a ruck and sprinted over 50 meters for the try. The conversion was missed, but USA went into halftime up 10-7.
In the second half, it was USA with the first chance, though their first possession of the half ended with a penalty. Spain went quickly and only a knock on inside five meters saved the Eagles. Naya Tapper gathered the knock on cleanly and took off. Tapper’s length of the field try was converted by Nicole Heavriland to make it 17-7.
USA was on the front foot again from the restart, and it was Zackary again going over and giving USA control of the match with three minutes to play, 22-7.
Another miscue by Spain from the restart gave the Eagles possession inside Spain’s 22. From a 10-meter scrum, Kelter was again penalized for not releases after a strong carry. Spain was able to work there way out of their own 22, but the game ended with a relatively sloppy exchange that ended with the ball going into touch.
USA next play Fiji in their final pool play match.
Leyla Alev Kelter
Anne Fernandez de Corres