Flair, Fanfare Collide as U.S. Women Top Canada 19-3 at Fall Classic

PHOTO BY NICK IERADI


BOX SCORE

SPARKS, Md. — The jubilant crowd started early. Their cheers grew to chants and excited screams — and even the occasional shriek when a player acknowledged them — throughout the night. That’s just the vibe the U.S. women’s national team is giving off these days.

The U.S. women, armed with an embarrassment of riches up and down the roster, stole the show Friday night under the lights at USA Lacrosse headquarters, besting Canada 19-3 in an atmosphere that felt more like a championship event than a fall tune up at Fall Classic.

Young girls came out in droves. Their parents and coaches did, too. But the indelible mark left on the youth by players on the national team has been a focal point of Jenny Levy’s tenure as head coach. Not only does Levy want to be the best. She wants to grow the game, too.

Perhaps that’s why eager spectators waited upwards of 30 minutes after the game’s conclusion for  players to emerge from the tunnel. Not a single autograph was turned down as fans filled their Fall Classic posters with the signatures of any player they could. Some posters barely had room for another set of initials, let alone a full name.

“A lot of that is a credit to Jenny Levy and what she’s done with the national team program,” attacker Kayla Treanor said. “One of her goals is to pack all the stadiums we play in. Just to see the turnout tonight, it’s so exciting and good for the game.”

Few players felt the love more than Charlotte North, Boston College’s dynamo and Tewaaraton Award winner who led all scorers with six points (three goals, three assists). Each one of her touches turned everyone in attendance into a videographer, as cell phones around William G. Tierney Field pointed toward the field. “Charlotte!” yells echoed through the night.

The 1,200 in attendance went bonkers after she made jaws drop — and defenders look the wrong way — when she faked left and shot low to give the U.S. a 5-1 lead in the second quarter.

It was more than a highlight for North, who ended a slow first quarter 0-for-3 shooting. Admitting that nerves were an early factor in her first international game, North settled down after getting back to her customary ways as an #SCTop10 candidate.

Starting on attack with Treanor (two goals, three assists) and Sam Apuzzo (two goals, two assists), North looked like she belonged. A younger North would have been floored to see her name in such company.

“I think she’d have passed out if you told her the two names that were next to me,” North said. “I wouldn’t have believed it for a second. I still don’t really believe it.”







The talented U.S. roster took 15 minutes to get into gear. Taylor Cummings (three goals) scored the lone goal of the first quarter. Ground balls, Levy said, could have been cleaner, leaving both teams scrapping for possession. All it took was a little room and few consecutive draws for the U.S. to find itself.

A 6-1 halftime lead soon ballooned to 12-2 by the end of the third quarter as possession after possession turned into points for the U.S.

“Things came together for us quickly as the game went on,” Treanor said. “The talent on the team is ridiculous, and it definitely shined tonight.”

While much of the attention will be paid to an offense that scored 19 goals (and 18 in the final three quarters), the defense set the tone. Assistant coach Amy Altig said during the week that winning the 1-on-1 matchups is the focal point of this unit, and there were few 1-on-1s lost.

Becca Block was nearly unbreakable. Marie McCool and Emily Parros glided as they kept up with surging attackers. Kristen Carr was savvy and delivered one of the more exciting checks of the night.

All of which was backed by Liz Hogan (five saves) and Caylee Waters (two saves).

“Canada does a great job of possessing the ball, and I thought they challenged us up top,” Levy said. “Once we settled in, we did a better job of controlling them.”

The U.S. women will again take the field Saturday for a matchup against NCAA champion Boston College. A similar atmosphere is expected. And if anyone missed an autograph, they’ll almost certainly get another shot to make a lasting memory.

“I look up to all the people that are wearing these jerseys, so if I can play that part for anyone watching from the stands, that’s incredible,” North said.

NOTES

Four U.S. women netted hat tricks (North, Ohlmiller, Cummings and Molly Hendrick) … Twelve of the team’s 19 goals were assisted … Canada won the ground ball battle 15-13, but the U.S. dominated offensive possession with a 30-14 advantage on shots … Even against all-time great Dana Dobbie, the U.S. won 16 of 25 draws ... Dobbie (two goals) and Madalyn Baxter accounted for Canada’s three goals ... Kameron Halsall, Stony Brook’s starting goalie last spring, started for Canada against her collegiate head coach, Joe Spallina, who is an assistant on the U.S. team.

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