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U.S. Women Shoot for Bronze

National Teams

U.S. Women Shoot for Bronze

The U.S. Women will play for the Bronze medal at the Youth Olympic Games after dropping a 33-0 contest to Australia in the semifinals.
 
Although a significant loss, the Americans did improve since their previous game against the tournament favorites. The difference lied in the Australian's confident attack and clinical execution.
 
The game didn't start well for the U.S., when from the opening kickoff, Dom Tu Toit took a mid-field switch into the try zone. Caitlin Moran added the first of her three conversions, 7-0.
 
But it took the Aussies the rest of the half to score again. In between, the U.S. did well to break into Australia's half, getting good yardage and excellent cover tackles from the speedy Becca Jane Rosko. Haley Langan also did a great job of protecting the rucks and possession.
 
It was the Aussies who relinquished a couple of penalties, but the U.S. couldn't turn those opportunities into points. Just before half, Australia led on clinic on how to make a penalty count. Long, crisp passes spread the defense and opened up room for the very fast Shenae Ciesiolka to score.
 
The second-half kickoff looked exactly like the first: a mid-field switch that fooled the defense and resulted in a second Ciesiolka try.
 
There were disjointed high points for the U.S. throughout the rest of the half - the deceptive Danielle Walko-Siua spinning through the center of the defense, the Richelle Stephens-Tess Feury-Michel Navarro trio teaming up for some nice breaks - but nothing solidified into something substantial.
 
Australia scored two nice tries - one from Tiana Penitani, the other from Marioulla Belessis - and Raecene McGregor added a conversion to Moran's three. The final try originated from Australia's five meter and showcased the team's overall excellent pace.
 
The U.S. will play China for the Bronze. A thrilling game evolved between the host and Canada in the other semifinal, with the North Americans pulling ahead in the final minutes of the game, 26-19.