TOKYO, Japan – The U.S. women's 7s rugby team defeated host Japan 17-7 to improve to 2-0 in group play.
The win assures that Team USA will advance to the quarterfinals with one more match remaining in pool play, Thursday at 9:30 p.m. against Australia.
Williams College graduate Kristi Kirshe was a late first half replacement for Illona Maher as the Eagles tried to capitalize on a late mistake by the Japanese team. The USA came up empty on its last possession of the first half, but took a 10-0 lead into the halftime break after notching two tries. The USA failed on both conversion attempts after their tries.
Kirshe remained in the game for the second half and early on she received plaudits from the commentators for her unselfish play. Kirshe received pass on the right and looked to have a long and relatively clear path to record her third try in Olympics play, but she turned passed the ball to rookie Jordan Matyas who covered the final 60 yards for a try.
This time, the USA succeeded on the conversion and its lead over Japan grew to 17-0.
Japan was able to muster its first try in the competition late in the game and its successful conversion made the final score 17-7.
The Americans' match against Australia will be telecast at 9:30 p.m. Thursday on USA Network.
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