Canada Tops Australia, Advances to First World Cup Final
Goalie Katie Donahoe backstopped Team Canada to an 11-7 semifinal victory Friday over Australia, its second win over the Aussies in this World Cup. The host Canadians will get another crack at the U.S. in a 3 p.m. gold medal match Saturday.
©Shawn Muir/Game Day Photography
OSHAWA, Ontario -- For the first time in the history of the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Women's World Cup, the U.S. and Canada will meet in the championship game Saturday at 3 p.m. The Americans, who are the defending champs, rolled to an easy semifinal victory, defeating England, 21-8. Team USA is in pursuit of its second straight and seventh overall World Cup title.
"To put on a U.S. jersey and compete for a gold medal is incredibly special. To be a part of this team is so awesome. Everyone is so passionate and so talented," said attacker and team captain Lindsey Munday, one of 10 veterans of the 2009 championship team who are back in 2013.
Canada earned its first-ever berth in a championship game with an 11-7 win over Australia. Goalie Katie Donohoe made 13 saves in the win, earning player of the match honors.
"K-Hoe gives our defenders some opportunities to take some chances. She's so calm and cool out there," Canadian coach Alexis Venechanos said.
Canada never trailed in the match, which was just its second win over the Australians in FIL history. The first came earlier in the tournament, when the Canadians rallied for a 13-12 victory in pool play.
"We knew if we came out flat, we'd dig ourselves into a hole that you can't get out of at this point in a World Cup tournament. We wanted to get the first draw possession and the first goal, and we did that," midfielder Dana Dobbie said.
With the loss, Australia fell to 2-3 overall and will play England in the bronze medal match. It is the first time since 1993 that the Australians have not been in the gold medal game. Coach Max Madonia cited poor shot selection and failure to adjust to Canada's zone defense in the loss, as well as the emotional impact of losing star attacker Jen Adams to a torn ACL just before the tournament.
"Jen is just an entity outside of everything. The residual of that loss is still here today. Is that an excuse? Absolutely not. It's not about one person. Our inability to connect through the spine of the field, our stick skills and our shooting weren't on point," Madonia said. "I'm really sad for the girls. But it is what it is. All I can do is try to win the bronze medal tomorrow."
The U.S. defeated Canada 13-2 in the final game of the round robin. Team dominated possession in that game, limiting the Canadians to just six shots.
"I'm anticipating a gold medal game. When you play for your country, you play for a lot of pride and a lot of heart. It's going to be a battle. There's a lot at stake," U.S. attacker Katrina Dowd said. "It's going to a physical, tough, 60-minute game."
Dowd leads Team USA with 23 goals, one shy of the U.S. team single-tournament record set by Quinn Carney in 2005.
The draw may be a sticking point in the title match. Usually the U.S. splits the draw between midfielder Ally Carey (19) and attacker Sarah Albrecht (five), but the coaches used midfielder Kelly Berger against Dobbie, an accomplished draw specialist, in the round robin. Technically, the Canadians won the draw battle 11-6, but due to tough midfield pressure from the U.S., they committed 26 turnovers and squandered that advantage.
"We're going to have to keep the ball a little longer and shoot a little more, and that will come with the draw and being strong between the 30s," Venechanos said.
Win or lose on Saturday, the host Canadians have already posted their country's best World Cup finish, but Dobbie says her team is not in just-happy-to-be-here mode.
"If you're happy just to be there, you should go home already," she said.