On Saturday, Team USA faced off against Canada in the Finals of the 2017 Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup. Both teams had dominated in the Semifinals against their respective opponents, and this was highly anticipated to be a truly exciting match.
The Gold Medal game would serve as a rematch from Game 4 of the tournament, the United States serving Canada their first loss, 17-3. To get here, the US would win seven-straight games, finishing with England in the Semis, 19-8. Canada pulled away as victors in the round of four by working past Australia, 8-6.
Everything We Hoped It Would Be
I found the game both fast and slow, all at once. Let me explain… There was constant action, such as turnovers and shots, but the point values increased much more slowly than any other game with the Americans. USA started out with possession, and instantly set out to start making goals.
However, Canada had a stupendous defense and a game plan. They had a simple man-on-man structure, and were extraordinarily effective is slowing the US down.
The USA had to keep pushing this Canadian defense; they passed the ball around and tested the waters until an opportunity arose for a goal. The Americans would then take full advantage of it.
While they were successful in eventually getting many points on the board, Canada certainly delayed the US much more than any other team has been able to do in the World Cup.
The Last Line of Defense
I was not surprised to see that both teams’ talented goalies had a very eventful game. Katie Donohoe, the Canadian goalie, saved several hard-to-reach shots, and left the goal circle during clears to act as an outlet.
I also saw Donohoe leave the goal to mark up away from the ball like a normal defensive player. This allowed two of her teammates to double team the ball-carrier. It was really a clever play, that is, until the American players managed to break through and head for the goal.
It looked similar to someone else we know. The legendary Devon Wills also had a number of great saves, but couldn’t stay in one place either. Yet again, I saw her run from the crease to create another double team in that swift style of play that is entirely her own.
It resulted successfully in her receiving the ball. Although she wasn’t as quick to pull the trigger in the big game, she still executed her traps with elite precision.
These goalies have done amazingly throughout the World Cup, and have been irreplaceable assets to their teams. Both, Donohoe and Wills, are very impressive and thoroughly fun to watch as they create wonderful plays.
Putting Up a Fight
By the midpoint, the United States had already built yet another comfortable lead. Sarah Bullard was leading the ladies with a pair of goals, with additions from Alex Aust, Marie McCool, and Michelle Tumolo.
The 5 US scores were only contrasted by a single strike by Dana Dobbie, bringing the score to 5-1 at the break. Kicking off the latter 30 minutes, the Americans punched in a quick trio of goals, further separating themselves from the Canadians.
I was taken by surprise towards the end of the second half. All of a sudden, Canada woke up. Out of nowhere, they made 3 goals, 2 from the stick of Alie Jimerson, decreasing the Americans’ 7 goal lead to 4.
At just under 10 minutes left, the Canadians created this amazing chance for themselves to take control of the game. To me it was equal parts impressive and terrifying. The crowd was roaring, the Canadian players were flying down the field, and for a moment USA was taken off guard.
Canada had a true chance here to win.
There Was Still 10 Minutes Left
But, USA wasn’t through with them yet. They stepped up their play, tightening their defense and quickening their offense. It took several minutes of a lot of effort for them to regain their hold on Canada.
However, they were able to make it work.
I noticed that both teams were a little sloppy in some cases. After all, unlike the rest of their games, it was raining, and freezing cold. These momentary lapses opened up chances for the other team to make a move.
The USA was able to utilize many of these chances both in the beginning of the game and in the end, when Canada had scored 3 goals and was getting close to threatening their lead. The Americans were watchful and deadly fast, and I believe this was a big part of how they won the game.
The US were able to pick up dropped passes and slide through gaps in the defense very quickly, slowly and steadily able to increase their lead. They won a large portion of the ground balls, and maybe more impressively, were able to quickly recover from their own errors.
This, as well as that patient persistence we’ve seen from the USA all week, is how they rightfully earned the title of World Champions.
Chased the Rings
As an American, I am extremely happy to say that Team USA won the 2017 Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup, 10-5. They were truly a force to be reckoned with, going 8-0, during the entirety of the World Cup and definitely earned this win. Team USA is an extraordinary team, and I’d say they were operating like a machine, but they also played incredibly creative.
Both teams played their hardest, and left everything they had on that field. They were each inspiring and motivating in their own ways. It made for a super eventful and exciting game.
With a final score within 5 goals of the Americans, it proved that the rest of the world is starting to catch up with the American brand of lacrosse.
Although not all of the scores proved it, the English kept the game tied at 2 early, and the Canadians cut the difference to 4 with 10 minutes left. Right now, the US might not beatable, but with a focused plan and four more years, anything can happen.
Both teams should hold their heads high about their wonderful performances. Congratulations to the United States for bringing home their 8th Gold Medal since 1982, over 10 events. Canada captured their first Silver at the 2013 games in Oshawa, Ontario, making their second-ever top two finish.
The only years the US didn’t earn global bragging rights, they fell to Australia in the finals in 1986 and 2005, the only years the World Cup was hosted on US soil.
United States’ Kayla Treanor finished the World Cup as the overall points leader. Collecting 43 total points over 8 games, Treanor finished with 24 goals and 19 assists.
Katie Donohoe, the Canadian goaltender, finished 1st amongst all starting goalies with a 54% save average, keeping 51 shots on goal away from the net.
The USA went undefeated in Group A pool play, winning 5 games with an overall combined score of 86-21. Japan was the only nation to produce a larger ratio, winning Pool D, 86-11, over 4 games.
Three Canadian (Taylor Gait, Katie Guy, Bianca Chevarie) and four American (Kristin Carr, Taylor Cummings, Kelly Rabil, Michelle Tumolo) players received 2 yellow cards in the entire event, none higher or any reds.
- Scotland – Allyson Carey
- Australia – Jennifer Russell
- England – Kayla Treanor
- Canada – Michelle Tumolo
- Wales – Brooke Griffin
- Quarterfinals, Israel – Marie McCool
- Semifinals, England – Kayla Treanor
- Gold Medal, Canada – Sarah Bullard