October 6, 2012

Team USA Routs Archrival Australia at Stars & Stripes

by Clare Lochary | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Devon Wills made three first-half saves in Team USA's rout of Australia on Saturday.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- In a smothering defensive effort, the U.S. women's national team routed archrival Australia, 16-3, at Burlingame (Calif.) High School as a part of the US Lacrosse Stars & Stripes weekend on Saturday. Smart double teams and an aggressive ride allowed the Americans to dominate possession, and the game itself.

"With double teams, there's a right time for it, and communication on the backside is what it's all about. It doesn't work if you don't shut off the adjacents," said U.S. defender Jenn Russell.

Team USA did just that. While Australia got the first goal of the game – a pretty give and go between Sarah Mollison from behind the cage to Marlee Paton at 28:05 – it was one of the only times they were able to showcase their signature crease moves. After that, the Americans went on a six-goal run to take the lead and never trailed again.

"If we make any mistakes, we talk in between and fix it, the next time, immediately," said American defender Kelly Barnes.

Longtime U.S. keeper Devon Wills started in the goal, and contributed three saves in the first half. Liz Hogan and Megan Huether split time in the second half, with Hogan adding an additional save.

On the offensive end, 12 different American players scored, led by midfielder Kelly Berger with three goals and one assist. Attacker Shannon Smith was the assist leader with two.

Australian goalie Elizabeth Hinkes had nine saves in the loss, but unfortunately bobbled a possession in the crease and scored an own goal late in the second half. But defensive missteps weren't the heart of the Australians' struggle to keep pace with a team they narrowly lost to in the final of the 2009 FIL Women's World Cup. It was the inability to gain and maintain possessions in the face of American pressure.

"Obviously, our transition and offense really, really needs to improve. It's the first time our squad's faced that pressure. We had some non-performers and some who were shy," Australian coach Max Madonia said.

Team Australia will have a chance to avenge the loss tomorrow, when they will play the U.S. in the marquee event of the Stars & Stripes weekend at Cagan Stadium at Stanford University at 10 a.m. PST. The event will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.

Other Saturday Scores

The Canadian national team rolled to a 6-1 halftime lead versus the Bears. Canada's Crysti Foote led all scorers with 1 goal and 5 assists. Junior midfielder Paige Gasparino had 1 goal and 1 assist to lead Cal.

In a back-and-forth game, Canada came out on top thanks to Brooke McKenzie, who rolled dodged her defender and put the game-winner in the upper right corner of the goal with just 6.6 seconds on the clock.

U.S. 18, CAL 3
The Hoyas' Caroline Tarzian and Molly Ford each had a hat trick in Team USA's win over the Bears. Midfielder Tatum Coffey was the points leader with 2 goals and 2 assists. Coffey scored the 18th goal of the game with a behind-the-back shot, on an assist from Laura Zimmerman (2g,1a). Cal's scoring was led by senior attacker Alexa Rozelle (2g). Bears junior goalie Megan McGinnis had 8 saves in the loss.

U.S. 16, CANADA 5
Two former Northwestern stars, Katrina Dowd and Shannon Smith, paced Team USA in its strong win over Canada. Dowd led all scorers with 4 goals and 2 assists; Smith added four goals of her own. Canada's top scorer was Lydia Sutton (2g), a junior at the Blake (Minn.) School. Canadian goalie Katie Donohoe (Monmouth) had 11 saves.

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