WWC Day 8 Wrap: It’s England v Canada, Australia v USA in the semi-finals

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WWC Day 8 Wrap: It’s England v Canada, Australia v USA in the semi-finals

Goalkeeper Brittany Read backs an England defense that has allowed just 4.25 goals per game in its four wins.

TOWSON, Maryland— Before becoming a lacrosse coach, Phil Collier was a mathematician. He studied probability and statistics at the University of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England.

Collier understands better than anyone the unlikelihood of anyone to topple the United States as world champion.

But as head coach of the England women’s national team, Collier allows her left-brain tendencies to give way to the wacky idea that her team could win this thing.

“The United States is favored by a mile. Everyone knows that. But what is the corny expression? Every champion was once a competitor who refused to give up,” Collier said earlier this week. “USA have never won at home before. That’s something I’m going to add in there. They’re favorites. But first we have to get to the final.

England take a step closer after beating Israel 13-5 in the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Lacrosse Championship on Tuesday at Unitas Stadium. Olivia Hompe scored three goals and two assists to win the Player of the Match award.

England take on Canada in the semi-final on Thursday (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2). The Australian and American rivals will meet in the other semi-final (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

England have never won a world championship. She won silver medals in 1989 and 1993. After slipping to fourth place in 2009 and 2013, the team turned to Collier, previously an assistant men’s coach.

Collier has established a year-round training and evaluation program, creating opportunities to incorporate American college players like Megan Whittle (Maryland), Olivia Hompe (Princeton) and Emily Nalls (North Carolina) .

“They don’t just have to be good, they have to be special,” Collier said. “Because we have a lot of good players.”

Since beating Australia in an epic double-overtime bronze medal game as World Championship hosts in 2017 to reclaim a top-three finish, England have continued their launched. Staples like Laura Merrifield, Ruby Smith, Emily Gray and Torz Anderson stayed with the team – Merrifield played sparingly in this tournament due to injury – as she compiled a 19-1 record against most European competitions over the past five years.

The only loss during that span came against the United States in the 2019 United States Lacrosse Spring Premiere at Stanford. The 14-8 result was the closest against the United States since Collier took over.

England confirmed their standings with a 12-4 victory over Australia in the opening of the world championship last Thursday, followed by an 18-7 victory against Scotland in a shortened match last Friday.

Then came the behemoths.

New goaltender Brittany Read (Louisville/Oregon), who resurrected her career last summer with Athletes Unlimited, was unbeatable in the first quarter against Canada. But England surrendered a four-goal run to end the second quarter and a six-goal outburst spanning the third and fourth quarters in a 13-8 loss.

England also showed courage against reigning three-time world champions USA in pool play, shooting within a short time before half-time before the Americans pulled out for a 15 win -9.

In both losses, England struggled to win draws, particularly in the second half, going 4 for 21 in the center circle in the third and fourth quarters.

By Collier’s calculation, England can upset Canada or the United States if they can stop seven out of 10 defensive possessions and convert five out of 10 offensive possessions – operating at 70% and 50% efficiency. , respectively.

It’s a tall order, especially on defense, where the addition of Nalls, Read and England’s national gold medalist gymnast Charlotte Wilson come into play. Collier also added Penn State and former coordinator Towson defensive end Mike Mollster to his team.

“Our defense is better than 2017. That’s our strength as a team,” Collier said. “And that gives us a platform the other way around. When you look at some of the attacking players we have, that gives us a big chance.

England have allowed just five goals combined in their league wins over Wales and Israel. Merrifield’s return to the line-up also gives England another draw option. She can spell Olivia Wimpenny at center and at 6-foot-1 has the reach to complement the speed of Nalls and Whittle on the circle.

AUSTRALIA IS MONITORING AT THE RIGHT TIME

With half their squad in the United States, strict pandemic protocols at home and the tragic death of chief executive Sue Sofarnos, Australia’s preparation for the world championship has been anything but ordinary. Travel delays only added to his problems.

But after a 0-3 start to the tournament, Australia hit their stride, outscoring their last three opponents by a combined margin of 42-11 while returning to medal contention.

“They’ve found that rhythm now,” coach Trish Adams said. “Getting to a medal game was our goal. We’re talking about building Australian heritage and that’s part of it, competing for a medal and showing we can punch well above our weight on the world stage.

Hannah Nielsen scored three goals and two assists and Stacey Morlang Sullivan netted five checkpoints to earn player of the match honors in Australia’s 17-3 victory over upstart Haudenosuanee, who qualified for the the quarter-finals as the No. 12 seed.

One of the most decorated players in women’s lacrosse history, Nielsen has been quiet so far. The two-time Tewaaraton Award winner, competing in her fifth World Championship, scored just one goal on a 1-for-7 shot in lopsided defeats to England, USA and Canada. She scored two goals and provided three assists against Scotland but did not feature in Australia’s first round win over Ireland on Tuesday. She could be seen wearing an abdominal brace after Wednesday’s win.

Adams said Australia was managing Nielsen’s workload.

“She’s fine. We have a really deep bench and we trust our staff. Today she feels one hundred percent,” Adams said. “She’s starting to connect, One of the struggles with Hannah here [coaching at Michigan] is that she does not play club ball. It takes time to find that connection. We started to see that, a great chemistry on the pitch.

CANADA BEAT CZECH REPUBLIC

Tournament leader Belle Martire of the Czech Republic scored five goals in an impressive effort, but Canada proved too powerful in a 15-7 victory against one of the teams that reached the world championship.

The Czechs trailed just 9-5 early in the third quarter, but Canada scored four unanswered goals and played almost their entire roster in a game that never really felt in question.

Hannah Morris and Erica Evans scored three goals apiece to lead the Canadians, who will face England in the second semi-final on Thursday.

THE UNITED STATES OVERWARDS JAPAN

The rain came and the floodgates opened.

The top-seeded USA unleashed a six-goal barrage in a downpour at Unitas Stadium, turning a slim early margin into a comfortable lead in an 18-3 win over ninth-seeded Japan. in the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Lacrosse Championship on Wednesday night.

Kayla Treanor scored four goals and added two assists to lead USA, while Charlotte North and Sam Apuzzo each had hat tricks.

Read more about the US victory here.

NOTABLE

In the consolation bracket of the championship:

  • Sophy Coombs-Roberts and Amy Martin scored four goals each to lead Wales to a 17-6 win over Mexico.

  • Scotland, who entered the World Championship as the No. 5 seed, rallied from a three-goal deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Ireland 9-8. Hannah Whitely scored the game winner from an open position with 1:19 to go.

  • Puerto Rico picked up their biggest win yet, upsetting Germany 10-8 on a four-goal streak in the third and fourth quarters. Two sets of sisters led the way. Bri and Sky Carrasquillo, who play at Yale, scored three goals each. Natalie and Maria Pansini, meanwhile, combined for six points and seven draw checks.

  • Four different players had hat tricks and New Zealand blanked Hong Kong in the third quarter en route to a 15-8 victory. Sarah Butler led the way with three goals and three assists. New Zealand edged Hong Kong 32-20 but Hong Kong made the most of their limited opportunities, shooting 80%. Vanessa Yu (Yale) scored a record five goals in the loss.

In the platinum bracket:

  • Dutch star Sarah Sweerts of Landas Wyborgh scored five goals in a 15-2 win over Spain. Goaltender Lyndsey Munoz (Stanford) made 19 saves in the loss.

  • Shannon Brazier (Cornell) had two goals and three assists and Runying Wang made 10 saves to lead China to an 8-5 win over Korea Republic.

  • Jamie Lasda (Ohio State) scored his fifth goal with 4:02 to go as Latvia held on after a late push from Sweden to win 12-11.

  • Steph Colson (Gettysburg) scored with 1:37 left in overtime to lift Italy to a 7-6 win over Norway.

CHAMPIONSHIP SUPPORT

QUARTER-FINAL RESULTS

England 13, Israel 5
Australia 17, Haudenosaunee 3
Canada 15, Czech Republic 7
United States 18, Japan 3

SEMI-FINALS SCHEDULE (ESPN2)

Australia vs. United States – Thursday 7 p.m. ET
England vs Canada – Thursday 9 p.m. ET

CONSOLATION NOTES

Wales 17, Mexico 5
Scotland 9, Ireland 8
Puerto Rico 10, Germany 8
New Zealand 15, Hong Kong 8

CONSOLATION CALENDAR

Mexico vs. Germany – Thursday, 10 a.m. ET
Hong Kong vs Ireland – Thursday, 1 p.m. ET
Puerto Rico vs Wales – Thursday 4 p.m. ET
New Zealand vs. Scotland – Thursday 7 p.m. ET

PLATINUM HOLDER

QUARTER-FINAL RESULTS

Netherlands 15, Spain 2
China 8, Korea 5
Latvia 12, Sweden 11
Italy 7, Norway 6 (OT)

SEMI-FINALS SCHEDULE

Netherlands vs. China – Thursday 11 a.m. ET
Italy vs. Latvia – Thursday 2 p.m. ET

CONSOLATION NOTES

Argentina 14, Colombia 3

CONSOLATION CALENDAR

Austria vs. Switzerland – Thursday 9 a.m. ET
Argentina vs Jamaica – Thursday 12 p.m. ET
Korea vs. Spain – Thursday 3 p.m. ET
Norway vs. Sweden – Thursday 6 p.m. ET

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