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Archive for July 9, 2022

July 9, 2022 — Is Canada poised to win the World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship?

At high noon today in Towson, Md., the 11th world title in women’s lacrosse will be awarded.

The two foes will be the same two teams that started this journey a couple of weeks ago — the host team United States, and our neighbors to the north, Canada. That opener saw the United States win the game 16-11.

I don’t think it’s going to be the same this time around. In fact, I think Canada is a threat to win this title. Here’s a few reasons why:

USA OFFENSE vs. CANADA DEFENSE: The American attack has run through opponents like Magic Johnson running Showtime during the 1980s in the NBA. The stylish and inventive finishing and passing movements have made highlights packages the last two weeks, whether it is Taylor Cummings or Kylie Ohlmiller or Ally Kennedy or Marie McCool or Charlotte North or Ally Mastroianni or Kayla Treanor. The thing is, can Canada’s defense, led by defenders Emily Boissoneault and Brooklyn Walker-Welch in front of goalie Kam Halsall, figure the right people to shut off to give them a chance?

CANADA OFFENSE vs. USA DEFENSE: Not to be outdone, Canada’s Dana Dobbie, Aurora Cordingley, and Erica Evans have been able to make highlight-reel goals of their own. This is going to force the U.S. defense of Becca Block, Emma Trenchard, Megan Douty, and Alice Mercer into trying to figure out how to be aggressive without losing one of them due to a yellow card.

DRAWS: Some dream draw combos are possible today: Taylor Cummings vs. Dana Dobbie. Ally Mastroienni vs. Aurora Cordingley. Emily Parros vs. Marie McCool. But remember: the one player of these six with the most draw controls thus far is Morrisette, with 56.

GOALKEEEPING: Halsall was money for Canada during the semifinal game with England, stopping seven 11-meter free position shots. On the other side, the U.S. has split Liz Hogan and Caylee Waters in the goal frame. That is, until the quarterfinal round. Since then, Hogan has played seven quarters, Waters just one. Is the U.S. coaching staff tipping its hand here?

USA COACHING: Last year, Jenny Levy, the U.S. coach, learned a hard lesson in lacrosse. No matter how many good players you may have, there’s only one ball. Somehow, the North Carolina team which had been No. 1 all season long fell at the penultimate hurdle in the Division I tournament. I have a feeling that much the same process of learning and feedback from the first games of this tournament are being processed by the U.S. coaching staff. With all of the talent that the States have, there is only one rubber ball out there, and the individuals will have to trust that one player with the ball to make the necessary play.

CANADA COACHING: The one person to bear in mind here is Gary Gait, the Canada assistant who is one of the greatest figures in the history of men’s and women’s lacrosse. Gait, when he was an assistant at Maryland and the head coach for Syracuse’s women, was a master of discerning which pace and rhythm would work best for his teams. In the pre-possession clock era, Gait would sometimes sidle up to the attack end (note: there were no coaching boxes until sometime in the 2000s), have a conversation with one or two of his players, then the Terps, after holding the ball for two or three minutes (sometimes more), would suddenly attack the goal. At Syracuse, there were games when his teams would play like their uniforms were on fire. For the Orangewomen, even before the possession clock, Gait’s offense would score 20 goals a game with ease. In this game, if you see Canada pull out of its offense and shorten the game to keep the hosts frustrated, that’s straight from the Gary Gait/Cindy Timchal playbook.

USA HISTORY: The United States has previously hosted this championship on home soil twice. Once was at Swarthmore College in 1986, the other was at the Naval Academy in 2005. The U.S. has never won a World Championship at home.

CANADA HISTORY: In 2015, the U-19 World Cup was held in Scotland. A Canadian team featuring current Team Canada members Aurora Cordingley, Kam Halsall, Brenna Shanahan, and Erica Evans beat the United States 9-8 for the title. And the head coach for that U-19 team is current Canada coach Scott Teeter.

INTANGIBLES: I would not be surprised to see some sort of deus ex machina event decide this game, whether it is a call made by the table umpire; a goal disallowed because the scorer did not do exactly what is called for in the stick drop; a problem with a self-start; or a weather-related issue.

It’s predicted to be a 70 percent chance of showers at gametime. Buckle up. This should be a good one.