August 4, 2011

U.S. Opens U19 World Championship With Win Over Japan

by Clare Lochary |

Team USA attacker Erin McMunn scored six goals for the U.S. in a 19-5 over Japan to open the 2011 FIL Under-19 World Championship. The U.S. continues pool play against Canada Friday at 3 p.m. local time in Germany.

© Greg Carroccio

HANNOVER, Germany — American midfielder Kayla Treanor scored back-to-back goals to open play, and Team USA never looked back as it raced to a 19-5 win over Japan in its first game of the 2011 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Under-19 Women's World Championship. The U.S. never trailed in the victory, and attacker Erin McMunn led all scorers with six goals. McMunn was named player of the match for her efforts, an unexpected gift on her 18th birthday.

"It feels great to get our first win," Team USA head coach Krystin Porcella said. "The girls played so well. It was a tough Japan team that kind of startled us in the beginning a little bit, but it was fun to see the girls make the adjustments and start to pull away from a very good team.

Despite Treanor's quick start, Team Japan's zone defense disrupted the Americans' rhythm in the first half. Japanese attacker Tamoko Takarada (3g) cut the score to 6-4 midway through the first period on an unassisted goal, prompting a timeout.

"Japan was throwing some stuff at us we hadn't seen yet, and they were doing a very good job of it, so I said, 'Let's regroup here, and take a deep breath, and go out and play our style of lacrosse, instead of playing into their game, which is what they wanted us to do,'" Porcella said.

The Americans responded with eight unanswered goals, putting the match out of reach. Seven different players scored for Team USA, led by McMunn and with hat tricks from Treanor, Cortney Fortunato and Jennifer Cook. Madison Acton, Covie Stanwick and Taylor Trimble each added a single goal. Kelsey Duryea started in goal for the Americans and made four saves in the first half; Allie Murray relieved her at the break and added three saves.

Tarakada's three goals led Team Japan; midfielder Mai Kenmochi added another two goals. Japanese goalie Tomoka Oshimura made eight saves.

"It felt a little surreal at the beginning," McMunn said. "We were definitely a little excited at first, but once we realized the zone they were playing, we started moving the ball around. Even as good as they are at their zone, no matter how good a team is, it takes a half second for them to think, and in that half second, you can move the ball."

The Americans worked the ball around the crease, and managed to get a step ahead of the tenacious and speedy Japanese. McMunn took inside post position, a role she'd never had in practice. She quickly adjusted to the change and led the U.S. to its first victory in Hannover.

"We just showed her something on paper and she walked in and executed it perfectly," Porcella said. "She got it, but the other thing is, her teammates got it as well, and they got her the ball in the right spot."

The win over Japan gives the U.S. a 1-0 record at the tournament. The Americans will face Canada Friday at 3 p.m. local time.

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