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Twenty-five days ago, the U.S. women’s national team departed from Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C., for training camp in England looking to make lacrosse history.
On Monday, nearly a month later, the team will return to the U.S. with two gold medals and the pride of knowing that if lacrosse makes it to the Olympics, people will look back on these 19 women as pioneers.
The journey culminated Sunday in an 11-8 U.S. victory over Canada in The World Games final in Wroclaw, Poland. Alyssa Murray (Syracuse ’14) scored four goals and Brooke Griffin (Maryland ’15) added three for the U.S., which broke a 6-6 tie with five unanswered goals in the second half and held Canada scoreless for more than 24 minutes to pull away.
Canada rallied late, scoring twice in 90 seconds with a chance to pull within two goals when Erica Evans (Canisius ’18) controlled the ensuing draw. But in perhaps an enduring image of what propelled the U.S. to 12 wins in 18 days — its relentless full-field pressure — goalie Gussie Johns (USC ’18) and defender Megan Douty (Maryland ’15) pressed Kaylin Morissette (Louisville ’16) to the end line and caused Canada’s 23rd turnover with 2:34 remaining. Douty scooped the ground ball and the U.S. maintained possession for the rest of the game.
The three-goal win was the slimmest margin of victory on this unbeaten trip for the U.S., which went 8-0 in the FIL Women’s World Cup and 4-0 in The World Games, an international multi-sport event featuring lacrosse for the first time.
“We told them in the locker room, ‘Regardless of what happens in the game, the sun is going to come up.’ But if you win the game, you’re going to be two-time world champions, and that will be the first time it’s ever been done,” U.S. coach Ricky Fried said. “I’m really proud of the effort they put into this team. It would’ve been really easy to win the gold medal in England, take a break and mentally check out, but they didn’t do that.”
U.S. co-captain Devon Wills, the All-World goalie who was a field player for The World Games, recognized the additional significance of the games in Poland.
“It is about pushing our sport into the next step, which is obviously the Olympics,” Wills said.
Canada started quickly with goals by Evans and Dana Dobbie (Maryland ’07) in the first two minutes.
The U.S. responded with two straight goals by Murray, a World Cup alternate who averaged seven points per game at The World Games, finishing with 12 goals and 16 assists.
Lydia Sutton (USC ’18) scored to put Canada up 3-2 at the 18:16 mark of the first half, but that would be the Canadians’ last lead of the game.
Douty, one of several U.S. defenders who saw increased time on offense in The World Games’ 10-on-10 format, converted a feed from Kelly Rabil (James Madison ’07) to jumpstart a four-goal U.S. run that ended with a free-position goal by Rabil with 2:52 remaining.
Morissette’s free-position goal with 13 seconds left in the first half pulled Canada to within 6-4. That gave the Canadians momentum going into the second half. They won the first two draws and converted on both possessions. Morissette tied the game at 6 with 29:30 remaining before the U.S. went on its defining five-goal run.
Murray (four goals, one assists) and Griffin (three goals, two assists) finished with five points apiece. Katie Schwarzmann (Maryland ’13) added a goal and two assists. Johns made four second-half saves.
The U.S. outshot Canada 31-19 and came up with 15 ground balls to Canada’s three. Defender Alice Mercer (Maryland ’16) earned MVP honors for the game.
Allison Daley (Canisius ’11) made 12 saves for Canada, which benefitted from outstanding goalie play in all three of its losses to the U.S. in these tournaments. Morissette, Evans and Dobbie finished with two goals apiece.
In the bronze medal game, Australia avenged its World Cup loss to England, scoring the last two goals to defeat Great Britain 10-8. Courtney Hobbs (Maryland ’02) scored the go-ahead goal with 10:33 remaining and Abbie Burgess added the insurance goal at the 6:27 mark. Rebecca Lane assisted both goals to finish with a goal and three assists. Hobbs and Burgess finished with three goals apiece.
The World Games concluded with a closing ceremony Sunday. The quadrennial event moves to the U.S. in 2021. The FIL hopes to feature both men’s and women’s lacrosse in Birmingham, Ala.
U.S. Goals: Alyssa Murray 4, Brooke Griffin 3, Kelly Rabil 1, Katie Schwarzmann 1, Marie McCool 1, Megan Douty 1.
U.S. Assists: Katie Schwarzmann 2, Brooke Griffin 2, Kelly Rabil 1, Alyssa Murray 1, Marie McCool 1.
U.S. Goaltending: Gussie Johns (4 saves, 8 GA, 70 mins).
Canada Goals: Kaylin Morissette 2, Erica Evans 2, Dana Dobbie 2, Tessa Chad 1, Lydia Sutton 1.
Canada Assists: Erica Evans 1, Megan Kinna 1.
Canada Goaltending: Allison Daley (12 saves, 11 GA, 70 mins).
The World Games Update
Sunday, July 30
Japan 19, Poland 1
Australia 10, Great Britain 8
United States 11, Canada 8
1. United States
4. Great Britain
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Help support the U.S. women's national team as they look to bring home another gold medal. All donations in the month of July will be matched by USL Foundation board member Sylvester Miniter.