Charlie Blair reports on the match up of Canada versus USA
“I was just about to say Shira, Jess, touch a disc”, joked one of the US coaching staff as he jogged passed the USA captain and her teammate who were already chucking some strong short range passes to each other on the sideline. With the USA beginning to run away with the game early on at 5-1, they were clearly not going to allow themselves to get complacent in such gusty conditions.
This tenacity was definitely rewarded with Canada only able to take one more point off them before the half. America’s ruthless defence was impressive, hot on the shoulders of the Canadians at all times and dominating the aerial battles. After pressing a first pass turnover on the swing, a huge take from #16 Megan Cousins brought down a hanging disc and the USA went on to convert and take the half 9-2.
With such a staggering deficit for a Canadian side that were currently unbeaten in the tournament, they huddled for a stern word from their coach. In contrast, the USA opted to throw at ease until play resumed.
Yet another quick Canada turnover on offence saw the USA increase the margin further. The Americans’ pace continued to be too much for their opponents to get on the scoreboard; but it was undoubtedly raising their game, even if too late. As the USA patiently worked the disc up, both the American #36 Carolyn Normille and Canada’s #47 Victoria McCann hurled themselves across the pitch with diving bids. With a powerful, full stretched, one handed grab Normille shook off the impact and USA closed out yet another point, with the score line now 12-3.
The Canadians were fully amped and their offensive game was looking confident again. Nevertheless, the USA’s pressure was by no means relenting as # 42 Lisi Lohre and Canada’s #93 Naomi Redmond both came down with the disc in the end zone. With the possession and point going to the offence, so began a Canadian comeback.
Finally Canada were on form, and they had their longest point streak of game scoring three in a row. Both sides were flying to keep the disc alive as the wind appeared to cause trouble for all, pushing swings into the ground and sending long shots straight out the back of the endzone. With two huge layout grabs from #21 Christine Jurychuk to keep possession, Canada brought the score line up to 13-7, after completing a beautiful lead pass to the endzone against an uncharacteristically trailing US defender.
As the game continued the two teams begin to trade it out; but points were not clean and both teams continued to generate turns. Whilst the US suffered more technical errors on the throws, the Canadians turned over on rushed floaty first passes, and an ambitious hammer that, as with all throws on the break side, was hotly contested in the wind. Despite two Canadian point blocks in the final moments of the game from both #3 Kalin Chang and #22 Leah Mulholland, the USA’s handlers remained disciplined, eventually working the disc to the break side to round the game off with a sweet, arching backhand to their captain charging across the end zone.
[Feature image courtesy of Jolie Lang from UltiPhotos.com]