Editor’s Note: Let’s all welcome the passionate and talented Brennan Santa to the podium! This young lady is fired up about the powerful run by the US Women at the World Cup, so we’re giving her the chance to sound off. Share your thoughts with Brennan in the comments below!
Hello! I’m Brennan Santa, a fifteen-year-old lacrosse player. I’ve been playing the sport in my hometown just outside Columbus, Ohio, for nearly seven years now. It’s my favorite activity, and I hope to continue playing it through college.
So, when it came to my attention that a lacrosse world event was going on – the 2017 Rathbones Women’s World Cup – I knew I had to watch it. This week, I tuned in to a marquee match between USA and Canada and I can’t help but talk about it.
These Games Don’t Happen Every Day
If you missed it, let me fill you in… the game was so exciting! It was incredibly fast-paced, I thought I’d miss something important just by taking the time to write things down. The players on both teams were always moving and strategizing, and I was on the edge of my seat every moment.
I found the calm voices and commentaries of the announcers to contrast sharply with the exciting and chaotic element of the game. How they weren’t screaming into their microphones, I’ll never understand.
Devon Wills + the USA Defense = WOW!
One thing that surprised me was a method used by the USA goalie, Devon Wills. During a charge toward the goal, a defensive player and the goalie worked together to create a double-team.
I watched with shock as the goalie raced from the goal, leaving it completely exposed, to create this tight and heavy double team. She took a huge risk, but the double team was enacted so quickly and efficiently, USA got the ball!
I was amazed. The sight of the empty goal was terrifying, but the double team had moved so quickly. They completely eliminated all chances of the ball ever getting there. It was such a clean, effective play, requiring precise timing and effort.
Canadian Draw Factor
I also noticed how successful the Canadian team was during the draw. The first three draws of the game resulted in Canada’s immediate possession. Canadian Kay Morissette, a former Louisville standout, captured 9 of 14, while no one else cracked .500. As the game went on, USA managed to take it from them with their defensive skills, however Canada always had total control of the draw.
It was crazy! The middies snatched out of the air faster than I could keep up, and the next thing I knew, they were charging down the field. Canada absolutely ran the draw game in the first half, successfully winning 7 of the first 10 attempts.
Coming back from the second half, the Americans had revised their plan and actually went 50% over the next 12 draws. The fact that anyone had an edge over USA and forced them to change strategy actually says a lot about the Canadian draw team.
…And a Solid Goalie Too!
In several instances, USA would shoot and Canada’s goalie would stop it. Katie Donohoe saved many, many shots, and was exceptional between the pipes. Despite allowing 15 of the 17 goals for Team USA, Donohoe still managed to turn away 40% of the shots she faced. She would then clear it up the field, around the circle.
That’s when USA would then initiate their incredibly effective defensive pressure. This was where they really turned the game in their favor. Every time the goalie would clear it, USA’s defense would pressure the ball and adequately cover the rest of the team in case of passes.
That Meddling Defense!
In almost every clear thrown by Canada’s goalie, USA was able to surround the girl receiving the ball, causing her to panic and drop it. The Americans then would pick it up and charge toward the goal for another scoring opportunity.
I watched with awe as they repeated this process again and again. Their defensive strategy and persistence was definitely key in their winning the game.
They didn’t let up for one moment, and didn’t allow any opportunities for another goal to pass.
US Women was Awesome
There’s really no other way to put it. They ended up winning the game, 17-3. I was super impressed and disappointed to see it end.
When the dust settled, USA was a perfect 4-0 in group play, taking the overall #1 seed through shear domination. Canada was the fourth team in their path, to which they dominated Australia, England, and Scotland too, all by a combined score of 69 to 15. It’s amazing that when playing the best teams in the world, Team USA is collecting over 4 goals for every tally by an opponent.
I look forward to following both teams as they continue through the World Cup. USA takes on Wales, and Canada lines up with England, to begin the bracket stage on Tuesday. I highly recommend following along with the rest of the event, which comes to a conclusion on Saturday.
Plus, the Quarterfinals (starting tomorrow) through the medal rounds are FREE to watch online… so there’s no excuse to miss it!