August 9, 2011

Rival Australia No Match for U.S. Under-19 Team

by Clare Lochary | LaxMagazine.com | Live Blog Replay

Cortney Fortunato (5g) drives against the defense of Australia's Courtney Ackland in Team USA's 20-7 victory Tuesday in the FIL U19 Women's World Championship. The U.S. (5-0) plays Scotland in Wednesday's quarterfinals.

HANNOVER, Germany -- In its fifth and final game of the round robin stage, the U.S. raced to a 20-7 victory over Australia at the 2011 FIL Under-19 Women's World Championship, securing the No. 1 seed for the medal round. Attacker Cortney Fortunato led all scorers with five goals. Madison Acton won Player of the Game honors, thanks to her three goals, two assists and solid transition play.

Playing against one of the toughest opponents in the field, and a traditional rival, the U.S. racked up its most goals in a single game for the tournament. Defensively, the Americans held the Australians to their lowest total of these World Games.

The game was played in an unseasonable downpour, but there was no dampening of Team USA's spirits.

"It was a great display of lacrosse. We knew Australia was going to be very good and athletic, and they have a great coaching staff with Trish and Jen Adams," said head coach Krystin Porcella. "Offensively, we were working our lanes to goal, and defensively, we were trying to encourage our players not to let that easy pass behind to disrupt what they wanted to do."

Danielle Mollison led the Australians with two goals, but Team Australia struggled to find a consistent way to penetrate the American defense. Team USA denied most of the outside shots, forcing the Australians to rely on crease attack for their offense.

"It was definitely a big accomplishment for us. We've been working hard on team defense, and that shows we're making strides in the right direction," said goalie Kelsey Duryea (four saves).

The two teams traded goals early in the match, but after Theodora Kwas scored an unassisted goal to make it 3-2, the Americans strung together a seven-goal run that put them up 10-2 at halftime. The Australians opened the second half with back-to-back goals from Mollison and Darcy Justice Allen to boost the score to 10-6. But Team Australia never got any closer to catching the Americans, who have a 5-0 record entering the medal round. Nine different players scored for Team USA, including Fortunato's five-goal outing and hat tricks for Acton, Kayla Treanor and Mikaela Rix.

"It's awesome. We're so excited. It's getting close to that game we've all dreamt about," said midfielder and team captain Taylor Trimble (one goal). "Everyone knew this was a huge game. You could feel it in warm-ups. We worked on our press, our redefending, and our shooting was 10-for-13 at halftime, which is the best it's been. We were really moving the goalie and finding each other, just setting up our teammates well. We really clicked today."

All Pool A teams, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, England and the Haudenosaunee, have automatic bids to the medal round. The win over Australia gave Team USA a perfect record in Pool A, and thus the top seed in the championship bracket.

The Americans will face Scotland, which went 4-1 in Pool B, at 3 p.m. local time in Wednesday's quarterfinals. The Australians (4-1) will play Wales (5-0), the top team in Pool B, at 7 p.m. local. The winners of those games will face the winners of Japan-England and Canada-Haudenosaunee, respectively, in the semifinals Friday.

FIL U19 WOMEN'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Team USA 20, Australia 7

USA - 10 - 10 - 20
AUS - 2 - 5 - 7

Goals: USA - Fortunato 5, Acton 3, Treanor 3, Rix 3, McPartland 2, Cook, Smith, Stanwick, Trimble; AUS - Mollison 2, Justice Allen, Kwas , Lane, Lowe, Pickett.

Assists: USA – Acton 2, Treanor.


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