Their time in Tokyo maybe didn’t go as planned, but the US Women’s National Soccer Team is heading back home with a bronze medal after taking down Australia with a thrilling 4-3 victory. Former Virginia stars Becky Sauerbrunn and Emily Sonnett are taking home a medal, becoming the 8th and 9th Cavaliers to reach the podium in the Tokyo Olympics so far.
The USWNT got off to a rocky start, losing 3-0 to Sweden in their opening match in group play. They earned a spot in the quarterfinals with a 6-1 victory over New Zealand and a 0-0 draw with Australia. Megan Rapinoe sent the USA through to the semifinals with the game-sealing penalty kick in shootouts against the Netherlands, but they fell to Canada by a goal in the semifinals.
In the bronze medal match, Rapinoe gave the US a 1-0 lead off of a beautifully struck corner kick that curved into the goal, then broke a 1-1 tie with a volley for her second goal of the first half. Carli Lloyd scored her first of two scores in first half stoppage time, finding the lower right hand corner of the goal. Lloyd’s second made it 4-1, but the Aussies would put two more on the board before the final whistle.
May not have been the color we came for, but every medal means something. Dug deep and got it done ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/ddunHDoyBZ— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) August 5, 2021
It’s the second Olympic medal in Sauerbrunn’s career, joining the gold she won in the London 2012 games. Sauerbrunn — who played for the Cavaliers from 2003-2007 — has 193 career appearances with the national team, with two World Cup titles to go with her medals. She’s been a stalwart on defense, and it has become a running joke that she’s played all of those USWNT games without managing to find the back of the net.
This is your Captain speaking!— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) July 17, 2021
As she closes in on the #USWNT record for the most games played without scoring a goal, @beckysauerbrunn with an important message ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/mXM8pOrEu5
Sonnett, who graduated from Virginia in 2015, saw action in the Olympics as a reserve defender off the bench. She’s had 58 caps on the USWNT, with all but 12 of those coming since 2018. Sonnett saw action in two games in the Olympics, subbing in during the New Zealand and Australia victories. She also was with the national team for the 2019 World Cup victory.
Sauerbrunn and Sonnett join swimmers Kate Douglass (bronze), Emma Weyant (silver), Paige Madden (silver), and Alex Walsh (silver) and rowers Susanne Grainger (gold), Christine Roper (gold), and Hannah Osborne (silver) as Olympians with Virginia ties to medal in Tokyo so far. Mike Tobey will have a shot at a bronze medal in men’s basketball on Saturday morning with Slovenia.