U.S., Australia back together in final

Top 2 teams to decide title today for 3rd straight time after rolling in semifinals

Women's Lacrosse

July 02, 2005|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

After nine days of competition at the International Federation of Women's Lacrosse Associations World Cup, today's gold-medal match has a familiar ring to it. For the third straight time, the United States will play Australia for the title after both teams won their semifinal matches last night.

The teams could not be more even in this World Cup. Both go into the 3 p.m. final at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium unbeaten at 6-0-1, having tied each other, 7-7, in pool play on Sunday.

The four-time defending champion U.S. team may still be stinging from that tie, because it had a 7-5 lead before Australia scored twice in the final 1:41 to catch up. Jen Adams, the leading point scorer in the tournament with 17 goals and 23 assists, fed Sonia Judd for the tying goal with 17 seconds left.

"It was a classic U.S.-Australia battle," U.S. goalie Jess Wilk said after the game. "It's typical of what's great about lacrosse."

Both teams know generally what to expect from each other -- the United States with its patient, settled offense and Australia with its fast-breaking, tight-feeding attack -- but Adams said fans haven't seen everything.

"I have no doubt each team is going to have a few surprises up their sleeve," Adams said. "Both went all out [Sunday], but I think there's going to be a few things we haven't seen from both ends. We always keep it exciting. We haven't played our best lacrosse yet."

Neither the United States nor Australia has had to play its best lacrosse, because of the competition for the world's top two elite teams. Other than the tie, Australia's closest match has been 15-4 over England while the United States' closest was 11-4 over Wales.

In yesterday's semifinals before about 4,600 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, the games started out close, but the U.S. team went on to defeat England, 13-3, while Australia beat injury-riddled Canada, 22-7, as Adams had four goals and six assists.

While England and Canada have been the second-tier teams in this World Cup, the United States and Australia continue to outdistance the rest of the 10-team field. The United States outscored its other six opponents by an average of 12.5 goals a game while Australia's margin has been 16.7 goals.

Today, the United States, which has won five of the previous six titles since World Cup competition began in 1982, will try to become the first nation to win the title on its home soil. Australia, the only other team to win a World Cup, took the gold the only other time the tournament was held in the United States, in 1986 in Philadelphia.

In yesterday's semifinal, the U.S. team started with some sloppy play and even gave up a goal on a flip from defender Lauren Aumiller back to goalie Chris Lindsey that went into the net. That gave England a 2-1 lead, but the Americans tightened up and reeled off nine straight goals while holding England scoreless for 34 minutes.

Annapolis native Crista Samaras earned Player of the Match honors after scoring four goals. Lindsey and Jess Wilk each had a strong half in the goal, combining for 10 saves.

With three goals yesterday, Quinn Carney boosted her career total to 35, more than any other U.S. player in World Cup history.

Carney, a former Maryland All-American, reached the milestone in just two World Cups, passing the former record of 33 set by Kathleen Geiger in three World Cups through 1997.

Another former Terps All-American, Kelly Amonte Hiller, moved into second place with 34 goals after scoring three yesterday.

England 2 1 -- 3 United States 8 5 -- 13

Goals: E--Butt, Stott, team goal; US--Samaras 4, Carney 3, Amonte Hiller 3, Aumiller 3. Assists: E--Bennett 2; Carney 2, Goldsborough 2, Amonte Hiller, Gallagher, Greer, Kaiser, Sommar. Saves: E--Shetty 9; US--Lindsey 6; Wilk 4.

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