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U.S. defeats Canada, 16-11, in Women’s World Lacrosse Championships opener at Towson

The Canadian women’s lacrosse team waited five years — a delay exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic — for a chance to earn some redemption against the eight-time reigning world champion United States.

Canada will have to wait a little longer to feel fulfilled.

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The Americans proved to be less-than-generous hosts as they took care of the Canadians in a 16-11 victory Wednesday night in the opening game of the 2022 World Women’s Lacrosse Championships at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium.

Attacker Charlotte North led the United States with four goals, and attacker Sam Apuzzo and midfielder Marie McCool added three goals each. North, who scored three goals in the first quarter, said she and her teammates were prepared for an emotional outburst from Canada.

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“They’re a great team,” she said. “They’re super well-coached and athletic and talented all over the field. We knew it was going to be a tough matchup, and we embraced that. We were really looking forward to getting a chance to play them in the very first game of the World Cup.”

Canada (0-1) was paced by its starting attack of Dana Dobbie (three goals and one assist), Aurora Cordingley (two goals and two assists) and Alie Jimerson (one goal and three assists). Goalkeeper Kameron Halsall made a game-high eight saves.

But Canada damaged its own chances by committing 15 turnovers to the United States’ six. Coach Scott Teeter attributed his team’s inability to protect the ball to the Americans’ employment of a 10-man ride when Canada was clearing the ball.

“It did help them,” said Teeter, who is the coach at Louisville. “They’ve got an elite attack, and if they’ve got the ball and you’re giving them extra possessions, they’re going to make you pay. That’s what great players do. That was a good coaching decision because it did put some pressure on us. And then we switched our spacing out and got a couple easy on transition.”

U.S. coach Jenny Levy pointed out that the game at the international level lacks a shot clock like the one American college and professional players are accustomed to.

“Ten years ago in the college game, the stall was real,” said Levy, a Roland Park graduate who recently guided North Carolina to its third overall NCAA Division I crown. “So you have to think about different ways and different areas of the field where you can put pressure on different thirds of the field. So that’s one way you can do it. We’re working through a lot of that right now as we go.”

The U.S. got off to a strong start, opening with three of the game’s first four goals. Two of those tallies came from the stick of North.

The two-time winner of the Tewaaraton Award given to college lacrosse’s top player, North got the festivities started with a rollback goal with 13:30 left in the first quarter and her second goal with 8:00 remaining.

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After Cordingley (Johns Hopkins/Maryland) cut the deficit in half with a goal with 6:16 left in the period, North completed her hat trick by taking defender Brenna Shanahan around the left post and beating Halsall with 4:45 remaining.

The Americans extended their lead to three after midfielder Ally Kennedy found the net with 19 seconds left in the quarter and then appeared to enjoy their largest advantage of the game when Apuzzo beat the first-quarter buzzer and scored. But officials waived off the goal, ruling that the ball hit the net after the horn had sounded.

Both sides scored three goals in the second quarter. The Americans then outscored the Canadians 4-2 in the third and responded to Canada’s 3-0 run over a 3:16 span to start the fourth by scoring four of the game’s last five goals.

Seven American players scored at least one goal, and three more each contributed one assist. North said the team will need that kind of diversity on offense throughout the tournament.

“I think we’re just focusing on having six people on offense who are threats and really challenging a defense and figuring out what they’re giving us so that we can then try to exploit that and play to our strengths,” she said. “This team from top to bottom is full of threats. There are some extremely talented players, and we see it every day in practice. It’s just so fun to play with them, and I’m learning from all of them, and I’m just lucky to be here.”

If style points were awarded, the Canadians would have flourished in that department as they finished with two of the game’s more remarkable goals.

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With 12:02 left in the second quarter, Cordingley collected a pass from Jimerson and then fired a behind-the-head shot past goalie Liz Hogan. Then with 5:33 remaining, Dobbie took a pass from Jimerson and whipped an underhanded, back-to-the-cage volley to the top right corner of the net.

Teeter did not seem particularly upset about the outcome of the opening game.

“We’re going to get better,” he said. “It’s a great measuring stick. It’s like a chess game. You’re not going to give your final move. We just need to get better, and when we see them hopefully on Day 10 for the gold medal, then it’s all out on the tables with all of the tricks and treats.”

The U.S. has captured the last three titles and eight of 10 overall.

As successful as the team has been, it has never won on American soil. In 1986, Australia defeated the U.S., 10-7, in Philadelphia, and in 2005, Australia did it again, pulling off a 14-7 rout in Annapolis.

This year’s American squad includes six players from the 2017 gold medal-winning team. They are defenders Becca Block, Megan Douty and Alice Mercer; midfielders Taylor Cummings and McCool; and attacker Kayla Treanor.

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Cummings, a McDonogh graduate, Mercer, a Century graduate, and Douty played at Maryland as well as defender Lizzie Colson. Four players on Team Canada with Maryland connections are Cordingley and Dobbie (former Maryland player and current Loyola Maryland assistant coach) and midfielders Erica Evans (former Maryland player) and Jillian McNaughton (current Johns Hopkins player).

AUSTRALIA VS. UNITED STATES

At Towson University

Saturday, 8 p.m.

TV: ESPNU


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