Powell, U.S. hold off Canada in 16-15 win

Americans take 1-0 lead in World Cup series

July 15, 1999|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Casey Powell seemed to be running away from the past more than the Canadians last night.

After watching Canada rush back to within a goal, Powell raced around the field, winding out the final 45 seconds to secure a 16-15 win in the first World Cup before an announced crowd of 3,077. The Americans, who haven't lost to Canada since the 1978 World Games final, take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three World Cup series, which resumes at Homewood Field tomorrow night.

Powell, a member of last year's U.S. national team, remembers all too vividly how Canada can dissolve leads. So when Canada rode a 5-2 run to slice its deficit to 16-15 with 49 seconds left, Powell wasn't about to give the Americans' chief international rival another chance.

"I was having major flashbacks," said Powell, referring to last July, when Canada came back from 10 goals down to send the World Championships final to overtime. "It got a little scary. We got a little nervous and upset on the sidelines. So I was running scared."

Powell, one of only eight U.S. national team members playing for the World Cup team, had three goals and two assists for the Americans, who outshot Canada, 59-25.

Canada was led by John Grant, this season's Division I Player of the Year out of Delaware, who scored five times including four in the fourth quarter. Goalkeeper Chris Sanderson continued his All-World play from last summer for the Canadians, recording 33 saves.

After five ties and three lead changes, the United States slammed in the first four goals of the fourth quarter to seize a 14-10 advantage on Michael Watson's inside goal with 8: 20 left to play. Canada didn't appear to have another run in it since it hadn't taken a shot at that point.

But Grant found ways to work in slim openings inside, dumping in three close-range shots in 3 1/2 minutes to carry Canada to within 14-13 with just 2: 29 remaining. The U.S. team responded with goals by Tim Soudan and John Fay before having to sweat it out.

Grant struck one more time, scoring with 58 seconds left. Gary Gait then won the next faceoff to set up John Tavares just nine seconds later, inching Canada to 16-15.

But Loyola product Jamie Hanford won the draw against Gait and Powell then played keep-away.

"It was another close one," Grant said. "This is the first field lacrosse game since last summer for most of these guys. So we'll be back."

In the first quarter, Canada offset the United States' offensive dominance by easily maneuvering around the Americans' long-stick defensemen. The Canadians scored on five of their first six shots and eventually moved out to a 6-3 margin until the U.S. attack asserted itself.

The Americans scored three times in a four-minute span to tie the game at 6.

"Once we moved the ball a little bit, we started to control the ball and that opened up our game," U.S. coach Bob Shillinglaw said. "That four-goal spurt there in the fourth, I think we got some confidence going after that."

Canada 5 1 4 5 -- 15

United States 3 4 3 6 -- 16

Goals: C--Grant 5, Gait 3, Tavares 3, Shearer, Bowen, Kelusky, Doyle; US--Powell 3, Lowe 3, Fay 2, Martin 2, Soudan 2, Watson, McCavera, Knight, Miller. Assists: C--Tavares 3, Bowen 2, Gait 2, Gervais, Kelusky; US--Powell 2, Watson, Lopez, Gonnella, Hubbard, Reese. A--3,077.

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