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Eagle Women to Another Semifinal, This Time in Vancouver

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Eagle Women to Another Semifinal, This Time in Vancouver

Kris Thomas scored a key early try against Great Britain. Mike Lee KLC fotios.

The USA women are into the semifinals of the Canada 7s in Vancouver, which is where they've landed every tournament this season.

The Eagles did it with a little more flash and dash than in their previous tournament, working quicker offloads off the deck rather than just setting rucks.

The variety of their game allowed them to press their advantage against a scrappy Brazil side and produced a somewhat tense victory over Canada as well.

In that Canada game it was the power runners, Ilona Maher, Lauren Doyle, and Cheta Emba who got the scoring job done. 

It was actualy Elena Olsen's aggrsssion that forced a scrum near the Canada line and then Maher got a nice, flat pass to run onto. The Eagles dominated field position and ball possession through the rest of the first half, offload, working support, and running to space more aggressively, and were quite unlucky not to score again.

So when Bianca Farella broke through for Canada to set up a 7-5 lead, you wondered if the chances would keep coming. They did. To their credit the USA did not abandon the new approach and kept the ball moving, and finally Doyle saw a wide gap and was gone.

The final scoring movement was something to behold. Emba won the restart and started a sequence that included 11 passes (including a volleyball-bump tip pass from Alev Kelter) and only two rucks. Instead of going into contact the Americans found support and passed early. 

The result was Kelter taking a hit and offloading to Emba who snagged the ball off her bootlaces to score.

Canada scored late through the always impressive Alysha Corrigan, but it was too late.

More of the same against Ireland, however here the USA had to come back after Kris Thomas was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on. (That was a little comical as Thomas just nodded sheepishly and was leaving before the card was shown.) Ireland scored twice during that card, keeping possession long enough that Thomas didn't have the chance to return to the field until four minutes had elapsed.

Ireland was also very lucky on a knock-on non-call. However, all was forgiven as the Eagles responded with a well-worked run up the middle in which Kristi Kirshe found Kayla Cannett for a key try. Naya Tapper then scored two solid tries, including one in which the Americans ran a series of pops and offloads down the left sideline before Tapper got it on the right.

This was a more dynamic USA team than we have seen, that's for sure.


Maher and Thomas were a quick on-two punch in this game and Kelter, who had been just a midfield line-breaker, finished off two.

Clearly Kelter is starting to feel more comfortable. Great Britain was never in this game.

The adage is, don't run sideways, but Maher's gallop across the field drew half the GB team and with a little nod to Naya Tapper in support, Maher just cruised past all of them. Tapper then fielded a grubber and took off from one side of the field to another before offloading to Thomas to finish it off.

Kelter ran well in support of a weaving effort by Kirshe, whose pass out of contact was perfect. Kelter then fended off three GB players to score her second.

So what this sets up is a semifinal clash with Australia at 4:04PM Sunday (Eastern Time). France will play New Zealand in the other semi. Those four teams are the top four in the standings. A win over Australia and the Eagles move up to 2nd in the World Series. New Zealand will be 1st in the standings regardless, but if they somehow lose their semi and the 3rd-4th match, then everyone else can close the gap.