Rachel Dawson (L) of the US fights the ball with Pietie Coetzee (R) of South Africa during the women's field hockey preliminary round match between the US and South Africa at the Riverbank Arena in London on August 6, 2012.
South Africa earned its first win in Olympic women's field hockey Monday, beating the United States 7-0 and sending the Americans to the bottom of their pool.
The result was out of the blue for two teams already eliminated from contention for the semifinals.
The Americans had won or lost their previous matches by one goal, and conceded only six altogether, while South Africa hadn't earned a point in four losses. But South Africa improved from conceding seven goals to Argentina to just one against Australia.
The South Africans needed to win by six to rise above the U.S., and led by that much by the 53rd minute. Tarryn Bright and Pietie Coetzee scored twice each. Lesle-Ann George, Jennifer Wilson and Dirkie Chamberlain were also on the board. They had two more goals disallowed.
Both teams went into the playoffs for 9th through 12th place.