Looking to end their Olympics on a high note, the Americans took on China in the 5th-place match. The two met in the opening match of play, with the U.S. coming out on top, 28-14. This go-around, the Americans won 33-14.
Regardless of the outcome of this match, China had an outstanding tournament in their Olympic debut. The Americans suffered a heartbreaking loss against Great Britain in their quarterfinal match, after being favored to medal in Tokyo.
The Americans wasted no time, Alev Kelter perfectly placed the opening kickoff into Captain’s Kris Thomas’ hands who took it home for the early lead.
China immediately responded, taking advantage of a penalty committed by the U.S. Wang Wanyu, who has been the star of the Chinese team, broke through the line to even the score at seven.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Americans were backpedaling near their try line when Thomas received a high pass. She recovered and returned the ball nearly end-to-end, giving the Americans the advantage again.
China had back-to-back high tackles, resulting in going down a man near the end of the half. The U.S. took advantage. Ariana Ramsey powered through the line into contact and Naya Tapper took it home to enter the half up 21-7.
Midway through the second, Chen Keyi took advantage of space, kicking the ball down the field and perfectly timing the pickup to bring China within seven.
With three and a half minutes remaining, the U.S. swung the ball out wide to Ilona Maher who tacked on another try for some breathing room. China threatened, but the U.S. used its size to its advantage, eating up the remaining time left on the clock. The U.S. ended their tournament on a high with Maher’s second try of the game, giving them the 33-14 win.