Team USA Women
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Team USA Women  @ Deodoro Stadium
Olympic Games
  Beatrice Benvenuti

Team USA enters win column at Rio 2016 with shutout of Colombia


RIO DE JANEIRO -- Alev Kelter added two more tries to her Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games tally Saturday in Team USA's 48-0 defeat of Colombia at Deodoro Stadium.

Richie Walker's squad was unable to overcome a deficit to Fiji in its first match in Brazil, and moves closer to a spot in the knockout rounds with the high-scoring victory. Team USA concludes Pool A play Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET against 2015-16 World Rugby Women's Sevens Series champion Australia, which is undefeated through two games.

After the teams traded penalties in the opening minute, the connection between Bui Baravilala and Kelter went on display for the Americans' first try of the match. Captain Kelly Griffin powered her way through the gain line with a fend and found Baravilala for another offload to the try-scoring Kelter for a 7-0 lead after two minutes.

"We know physicality is a big part of our game and we wanted to bring that back into this second game," Griffin said. "We talked about it at half time and just knew we needed to collect ourselves, keep our heads in the game, and play our style."

Nathalie Marchino, who has represented the U.S. at Rugby World Cups and on the Series, kicked away possession from behind the Colombian 22 for Baravilala to chase. Though Baravilala lost the ball forward in an attempted pass, Victoria Folayan won the ball back and Griffin found Lauren Doyle for the second try of the match and 12-0 lead.

"It's such an amazing feeling; the atmosphere is different," Doyle said of playing at the Olympics post-match. "Just playing under the lights like this is incredible. We don't get to do this very often so it's just a really cool feeling to be out here."

Folayan returned a kick of her own across midfield in the fifth minute, where Kathryn Johnson took ball-handling duties and found Kelter for the teammate's third try. Folayan set up the U.S.'s final try of the half with a run past the Colombian 10, and Johnson fended her way to the try line for a 24-0 lead at the break.

With a healthy lead and an important match against Australia on the horizon for Sunday, Walker made several substitutions at halftime. Ryan Carlyle and Jessica Javelet combined immediately, with a lane along the touch line enough for Javelet to speed away from the defenders 30 seconds into the second frame. Carlyle replied with a try of her own in the 10th minute after Baravilala and Griffin worked the offense forward.

Johnson added her second try of the night with a professional stretch to the line as Team USA found it stride in the attacking half, and substitute Joanne Fa'avesi rounded out the match at 48-0 with a try down the wing in the final minute.

Australia posted a 19-0 halftime lead against Fiji in its second match of pool play before finishing off the Fijiana at 36-0 to take a commanding lead in Pool A. A defeat of Australia Sunday would give the U.S. its best chance at a Quarterfinal appearance. Sunday's match is scheduled to kick off on USA at 12:30 p.m. ET, with a live stream available via NBC Olympics' website.

"[It was] definitely a let-down in the first game," Doyle said. "We had to get the first game of the Olympics out of our system. But we really came together in this last game and now we're on the climb; we're going in the right direction in time for Australia tomorrow."


Team USA Rugby Sevens Squad | v. Colombia

1. Jillion Potter

2. Kelly Griffin

3. Kathryn Johnson

4. Alev Kelter

5. Bui Baravilala

6. Lauren Doyle

7. Victoria Folayan

8. Carmen Farmer

9. Joanne Fa'avesi

10. Richelle Stephens

11. Ryan Carlyle

12. Jessica Javelet

Team USA Rugby Sevens Squad | Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games

v. Fiji - L 12-7

v. Colombia - W 48-0

v. Australia - Sunday, Aug. 7 @ noon ET - LIVE on USA & online