SILVERTON, Ohio — Crowds gathered early on Saturday at MVP Sports Bar and Grille in Silverton to cheer on Cincinnati's Rose Lavelle and the US Women's National Team in the Tokyo Games.
And what a show they got: Lavelle scored the team's first goal against New Zealand, marking her first Olympic goal.
"It was awesome seeing her score here, and to be able to share that moment with everybody is tremendous," said her brother, John Lavelle.
He was one of dozens of family members and friends, joined by fans just there for support, at 7:30 a.m.
Lavelle's cousin, Jerry Metz, was also there to watch.
"She brings tears to my eyes, quite frankly; she's such a tremendous player," he said. "I coached these guys for 12 years and refereed soccer all over the city. She's something else. They come along once in a lifetime."
Lavelle, who graduated from Mount Notre Dame High School, scored in the first 10 minutes of the match.
The goal gave the team renewed energy after a slow start in Tokyo, losing 3-0 to Sweden on Thursday. It was the worst loss for the US Women's National Team in its Olympics history.
Saturday morning, the team would rally to defeat New Zealand 6-1, with Lavelle leading the charge.
"It's getting to be old hat," joked Lavelle's uncle, Jim Donnellon. "She scores all the time. It's incredible. My phone blows up when she scores, and you can see the exuberance, and we're just so proud of her."
In an open-early sports bar in Silverton, the cheers were as loud as ever.
"Obviously she's talented," said Donnellon. "But she's worked hard, she's dedicated herself and, fortunately, avoided injuries, and the right things happened. To have her rise to this level is incredible."
"I hope she means as much to Cincinnati as Cincinnati means to her," said John Lavelle.
The US Women's National Team plays Australia on Tuesday.