These days, Kayla Treanor is known more as the head coach of the Syracuse women’s lacrosse program rather than the former star attacker for the Orange.
Treanor reminded fans at the 2022 Women’s Lacrosse World Championship she can still play. The starting attacker racked up five goals and one assist in the first half to power the United States to a 12-0 halftime lead that eventually turned into a 17-2 thrashing of Australia in the first of two semifinals Thursday night at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium.
The United States (7-0) advanced to Saturday’s title game at noon and will meet Canada (6-1). The latter held off England, 11-9, in the second semifinal.
The Americans will have appeared in all 11 championship finals, winning eight times. They are riding a 29-game winning streak and have not lost since July 2, 2005, when that squad suffered a 14-7 defeat to Australia in Annapolis.
The United States’ march to the title game this summer has relied somewhat on the play of Treanor, the four-time All-American first-team selection from 2014 to 2017 and three-time Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association’s Attacker of the Year. With a final total of eight points on six goals and two assists, she raised her team leads in all three categories to 19 goals, 14 assists and 33 points.
“Just totally honest, I’m having a lot of fun,” said Treanor, who enjoyed a heartwarming moment Wednesday night after meeting Monica Jones of the Japan national team. “I’m just enjoying the moment. I get to play with some of the best players in the world, and they make you look really good. I’m just really having a lot of fun, and I think it shows on the field.”
United States coach Jenny Levy — who also helms North Carolina, an Atlantic Coast Conference rival of Treanor’s Syracuse program — said she finds it comforting to have the offense in Treanor’s hands.
“I respect and trust her a lot as a fellow ACC coach when she’s out on the field playing,” said Levy, a Roland Park graduate. “To think that I know everything, I don’t. So I really rely on the expertise of some of my players on the field to give us the things we’re not seeing. There’s no ego in me. So it doesn’t matter how we get the job done. I just want to get the job done for the players.”
Treanor certainly wasn’t the only musician beating the drum that was the Australian defense. Attacker Charlotte North chipped in four goals and one assist, attacker Kylie Ohlmiller came off the bench to pitch in one goal and two assists and reserve midfielder Dempsey Arsenault scored twice.
Defensively, U.S. goalkeeper Liz Hogan turned back five shots while surrendering just one goal and was pulled after the third quarter in favor of Caylee Waters, who stopped three shots and gave up one goal.
At 28 years old, Treanor is one of the youngest head coaches at the NCAA Division I level, earning that honor after helping Boston College advance to the title games in 2018 and 2019 and capture its first national championship in 2021. She is also one of the oldest players on the current American squad as only four of the 18 players on the roster graduated before she did.
But Treanor proved Thursday night she can hang with anyone — young and old. After Arsenault and North opened the scoring, Treanor extended the Amercans’ lead to 4-0 with a pair of goals in a 2:40 span, including a back-to-the-net, right–shoulder flip with 1:53 left in the first quarter.
Treanor scored back-to-back goals again within a 1:52 stretch in the second quarter, hit midfielder Ally Kennedy with a skip pass for a goal with 1:48 remaining and capped the first half with a goal off a feed from Ohlmiller with 12 seconds left before halftime.
Among the offensive starters, Treanor coached North and attacker Sam Apuzzo at Boston College and played with midfielders Marie McCool and Taylor Cummings (McDonogh/Maryland) on the 2017 squad. She also coached Arsenault with the Eagles and played with starting defender Becca Block at Syracuse in 2013.
“There’s just a lot of connections and chemistry, and we’ve really become all on the same page with the lingo and what we’re trying to do and playing together and sharing the same goals,” Treanor said. “So when you share that goal, it’s really easy for us to work together.
Midfielder Theadora Kwas, who played at Maryland from 2014 to 2017, ensured that Australia (3-4) would not be shut out, beating Hogan for a goal with 6:35 left in the third quarter when the U.S. owned a 13-0 advantage. Midfielder Olivia Parker scored the game’s final goal with 5:08 remaining.
Canada 11, England 9: Former Maryland midfielder Erica Evans’ four goals helped Canada ward off England and advance to its third consecutive title game.
Former Johns Hopkins and Maryland attacker Aurora Cordingley contributed three goals and one assist, and midfielder Nicole Perroni scored twice to fuel Canada’s offense.
Evans’ fourth and final goal with 9:29 left in the fourth quarter gave Canada a 10-6 advantage. But England (4-3) halved the deficit with former Maryland attacker Megan Whittle finding attacker Georgina Southorn for a goal with 7:28 remaining and then converting a free-position opportunity with 4:33 left.
England’s bid to trail by just one for the first time since it was 4-3 with 6:07 left in the second quarter was snuffed by goalkeeper Kameron Halsall, who turned away midfielder Olivia Wimpenny’s free-position chance with three minutes remaining. Canada made Halsall’s fourth save count when Cordingley drove from the left side of the net to the slot for an 11-8 lead with 1:46 remaining.
Southorn finished with three goals and one assist, and Whittle added two goals and one assist.
Women’s Lacrosse World Championship final
UNITED STATES VS. CANADA
At Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium