Laura Zimmerman had a goal and three assists to help the U.S. women's national team to a 20-7 win over Canada in an exhibition game following the opening day of the US Lacrosse Women's National Tournament.

BOX SCORE

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The two favorites for the 2017 Federation of International Lacrosse Women’s World Cup met on Saturday night before a full house of 1,000 fans at Yale’s Reese Stadium, but a 20-7 victory for the United States over Canada mattered little to the defending world champions.

They know the real test is coming in July in Guildford, England when the U.S. will attempt to win its third straight World Cup.

“Nothing’s for granted,” summed up U.S. head coach Ricky Fried after the game between the finalists from the last World Cup.

Fried doesn’t have to look far to find an example to keep his team grounded. Two years ago, the U.S. U19 team routed Canada 19-4 in a similar exhibition following the opening day of play at the US Lacrosse Women's National Tournament. Later on that summer, Canada shocked the U.S. in the gold medal game, ending a string of four straight U19 world championships for the U.S.

“Every day is a different day and any team can show up that day,” said U.S. midfielder Kelly Rabil, who had a game-high four goals. “We always have to be prepared. We respect them and we know that they’re going to come prepared.”

Rabil is one of the veterans on the team and she helped the U.S. take over after a relatively slow start. Canada’s Dana Dobbie exploited the U.S. team’s full-field ride with a pair of empty net goals in transition, and the game was tied 3-3 a little over 10 minutes in. The U.S. then went on a 11-1 run over the next 18 minutes with Rabil tallying three goals during the run.

Kelly Rabil had a game-high four goals to help the U.S. overcome a slow start and beat Canada 20-7 on Saturday night. Rabil had three goals during an 11-1 USA run that broke open a 3-3 tie. © John and Matt Risley Photography

Three of Canada’s first four goals of the game came on empty-net opportunities, but the U.S eventually wore down Canada with it relentless pressure. Canada committed 14 first half turnovers and finished the game just 6-of-15 on clears.

Ally Carey and Brooke Griffin each had three goals for the U.S. and Laura Zimmerman and Kayla Treanor each had three assists. Dobbie led Canada with three goals and Allie Jimerson had two goals.

Saturday night’s exhibition was the final game for the U.S. team before its heads across the Atlantic Ocean for training camp leading into the World Cup in England. They’ve been working towards that milestone for four years since the last World Cup, including several rounds of agonizing roster cuts that began with more than 100 players and then went down to 36 and 24 before the final roster was named in January.

“It took a long time to get to this group of 18,” said goalie Devon Wills, who will be playing in her third World Cup and is the lone returning All-World player for the U.S. team. “We all went through a lot. It feels good to finally have our group and kind of enjoy the time together.”

Just since last summer, the U.S. team has competed on a tour in England, played five games at the Team USA Fall Classic in Maryland in October, beat Florida and Notre Dame at the Team USA Spring Premiere in Florida in January and now this exhibition. They’re ready for the final test.

“I think that was the feeling we all had getting off the bus,” Rabil said. “It feels good to kind of know that the finish line is in sight. It’s getting closer, it’s getting more exciting.”

The U.S. Women’s National Team trains and plays in best-in-class products provided by Nike (apparel and footwear), Brine (equipment), STX (equipment), Under Armour (equipment) and SISU (mouthguards). In addition, they are supported by partners including MedStar Health and Bank of America, along with US Lacrosse national partners Greenfields, Nationwide, Sports Force Parks and SweatX.

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