U.S., Australia women fit to be tied, 7-7

Americans let 7-5 lead in second half slip away in World Cup pool play

Lacrosse

June 27, 2005|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

The United States and Australia have a history of playing close games in World Cup women's lacrosse competition, but yesterday's was the closest yet - the two teams drew to a 7-7 deadlock at the Naval Academy's Glenn Warner Soccer Facility.

The win seemed well in hand for the four-time defending champion United States when Crista Samaras increased the lead to 7-5 with 6:24 to go and the Americans worked away four minutes after winning the next draw.

But Australia goalie Suzanne McSolvin interrupted the stall by intercepting a weak pass over the top of the goal - the 16th turnover for the United States.

Sasha Newmarch and Sonia Judd then scored two goals in the last 1:41 to pull the Aussies even.

"It's tough to give up goals ever, but in the last two minutes of the game, you don't want to give up even one goal," said U.S. defender Joanne Connelly. "Australia, they're a capitalizing team. You make a mistake, and they're going to make you pay for it."

The United States and Australia are now 5-5-1 against each other since play began in 1982 in the International Federation of Women's Lacrosse Associations' World Cup.

The last World Cup meeting between the two, a 14-8 U.S. victory in the 2001 championship, was the largest margin of victory in 10 previous World Cup meetings. No other match between the two has been decided by more than three goals; four were one-goal decisions.

As a result of yesterday's tie, Australia is poised to come away with the top seed in Pool A based on a complex goal-differential formula. The Americans(3-0-1) completed pool play yesterday, but the Aussies (2-0-1) have a game remaining this morning with Wales (0-3).

For the United States to get the top spot, Wales would have to beat Australia or play it to a close high-scoring game. Australia would hold onto the top spot if it holds Wales to 10 goals or fewer. Wales has scored just 11 goals in its first three games.

Australia led yesterday's game for only 34 seconds, 3-2, on Sarah Forbes' goal midway through the first half. Kara Cooke tied the game at 3 on a feed from Kelly Amonte Hiller, and the teams went on to tie at 4 and 5 before Danielle Gallagher and Samaras scored back-to-back goals to give the Americans their 7-5 lead.

The last two minutes somewhat overshadowed an otherwise outstanding performance from U.S. goalie Jess Wilk, who finished with nine saves, three ground balls and three caused turnovers.

"Jess had ... good interceptions, good field play around and outside the net. I would have liked her to stop one more, but so would she," said U.S. coach Sue Stahl, who had been splitting halves between her two goalies, Wilk and Chris Lindsey, but went with a "gut feeling" at halftime to leave Wilk in the game.

Wilk said she would remember the last goal, Judd's shot through the veteran goalkeepers' legs with 17 seconds left.

"We just settled the ball, and we had a lot of composure," said Jen Adams, the Player of the Match who fed Judd for her third assist of the game. "I went around the crease and saw the slide come over and fortunately Sonia Judd popped up in the right place at the right time."

Australia 3 4 - 7

United States 4 3 - 7

Goals: A-Newmarch 2, Adams, Morlang, Judd, Forbes, McHarg; US-Gallagher 2, Greer 2, Samaras, Aumiller, Cooke. Assists: A-Adams 3; US-Amonte Hiller, Aumiller, Gallagher, Samaras. Saves: A-McSolvin 6; US-Wilk 9.

Results, schedule

Women's World Cup

At the Naval Academy

Yesterday's results

At Glenn Warner Soccer Facility

United States 7, Australia 7

England 6, Wales 2

Japan 19, Scotland 6

Germany 15, New Zealand 1

Saturday's results

At Glenn Warner Soccer Facility

United States 15, Canada 7

Japan 26, New Zealand 1

Australia 15, England 4

Scotland 14, Czech Republic 2

Today's games

At Glenn Warner Soccer Facility

Australia vs. Wales, 11 a.m.

Scotland vs. New Zealand, 2 p.m.

Germany vs. Czech Republic, 5 p.m.

Canada vs. England, 7:30 p.m.

Tomorrow's games

At Navy Marine-Corps Memorial Stadium Matchups TBA

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