WWC Day 2 Wrap: Asia-Pacific Teams Start Strong in World Championship

PHOTO BY NICK IERADI

Japan's Mio Takahashi shoots on goal. Takahashi had three goals in a 13-8 win over the Haudenosaunee in the World Lacrosse Women's World Championship on Thursday.


TOWSON, Md. — There is a Japanese word for transition. It’s sen’i.

But Kokoro Nakazawa says Japan uses an English portmanteau to describe the whirlwind way its women’s lacrosse team whisks the ball around the field and advances from defense to offense.

“It’s called gaction,” she said. “Gap, plus action.”

There was plenty of that Thursday, as Japan led from start to finish in a 13-8 win over the Haudenosaunee in a Pool E match on the first full day of competition in the World Lacrosse Women’s Championship at Towson University.

A Yokohoma native who starred at Nihon University and for Japan’s under-19 team before coming to the U.S. to play at Louisville, Nakazawa scored three goals in her Japanese senior team debut, tying teammate Mio Takahashi and the Haudeonsaunee’s Miya Scanlan for game-high honors.

“I’m kind of nervous. I didn’t practice that much with this combination [of coaches and players] because I was in the states a lot,” said Nakazawa, who has 22 goals and 15 assists in two seasons at Louisville. “It’s better than I expected because they are so nice to me. They helped me, teaching me plays. There are many NCAA players on the other teams. It’s an honor to wear this uniform against NCAA players.”

Nakazawa took in Wednesday night’s tournament opener between Canada and the host U.S. Her Louisville teammates, Hannah Morris and Nicole Perroni, play for the Canadians. Her college coach, Scott Teeter, is Canada’s coach. He discovered Nakazawa at the 2019 U19 world championship in Peterborough, Ontario. She was named to the All-World team.

“See the last game, right? Team Canada against USA. That impressed me,” Nakazawa said. “It’s very different from Japan, the lacrosse style. It’s more aggressive, high-level in the states.”

Nakazawa said Teeter has coached her to go to goal more. That showed Thursday.

“They know I’m good at driving,” Nakazawa said. “They give me the ball a lot, and [say], ‘Ko, drive it!’ OK.”







Winner of the 2019 Asia Pacific Lacrosse Union (ASPAC) championship, Japan was not the only team from its continental federation to show well on day two of the world championship.

China defeated Switzerland 13-7, Hong Kong beat Spain 12-1, and New Zealand scored the last two goals to pull out a 10-8 win over Ireland.

China already has as many wins (one) as it had during the entirety of the tournament when it made its world championship debut in 2017.

China’s coach, Ted Sawicki, is in the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame. He has two adopted Chinese daughters, including Charlotte, a player on the team. Eight players have NCAA experience, including Shannon Brazier (Cornell), China’s top scorer in the 2019 U19 world championship. She had five goals and two assists in the win Thursday.

“Half of our team is 30 and older and half of our team is 22 and younger. It’s exciting. We’re learning a lot from each other,” said defender Jing Peng, who was born in China but grew up in upstate New York and Minnesota. “A lot of these girls have sacrificed a lot to be here.”

ENGLAND SHUTS DOWN AUSTRALIA

England picked up where it left off five years ago, this time defeating Australia handily 12-4 in the teams’ world championship opener Thursday.

Megan Whittle, who scored the double-overtime winner that gave then-host England the bronze medal over Australia in 2017, scored five goals to lead the way.

Australia pulled to within 5-4 late in the third quarter, but England finished the game on a seven-goal run and shut out Australia in the fourth quarter with an expertly executed stall. Australia managed just two turnovers and one errant shot on its three possessions in the final 15 minutes.

North Carolina defender Emily Nalls anchored a stout defense for England with two caused turnovers.

NOTABLE

  • Isabel Szejk scored seven goals, and Daniela Eppler Lobato added a hat trick and a helper as Mexico ran by Sweden 18-6. Sara Björk and Victoria Fearnhead tallied two goals apiece for the Swedes.

  • A six-point performance (four goals, two assists) from Anna Lottman led the Czech Republic to a 13-10 win over Italy. Colleen Owen tallied five goals and one assist for Italy in the loss.

  • China topped Switzerland 13-7. Shannon Brazier of Cornell led the Chinese with five goals and two assists.

  • Puerto Rico impressed in its world championship debut, downing the Netherlands 14-3. Nine players scored a goal for Puerto Rico, with Delaney Rodriguez-Shaw leading the way with a hat trick.

  • Mio Takahashi tallied three goals and one assist, and Kokora Nakazawa of Louisville netted a hat trick to lead Japan to a 13-8 win over Haudenosaunee. Miya Scanlan (Jacksonville) scored three times, and Albany assistant Taylor Frink dished four assists for Haudenosaunee.

  • Michelle Yu registered four goals and Ya Cheng Yue made nine saves as Hong Kong routed Spain 12-1. Former Stanford goalie Lyndsey Munoz made seven stops for Spain.

  • In one of the less lopsided games of the day, New Zealand scored a pair of goals in the final 6:30 to squeak past Ireland 10-8. Sara Butler scored three goals for New Zealand. Cliodhna Kerr did the same for Ireland but missed a shot with about 90 seconds left. Emily Gaven stopped 11 shots for Ireland.

  • Nine different Israeli players scored, led by former Northwestern standout Lindsey McKone’s six points, in an 18-6 win against Korea. McKone’s points came on four goals and two assists, while Ali Steinberg Burnard and 15-year-old Zoe Martin each finished with three goals. Anna Kim led Korea  with four points on two goals and two assists.

  • Kim Dressendörfer tallied six points on four goals and two assists as Germany upended Wales 10-7. The Germans outscored the Welch 5-3 in the second half and also got three goals from Syracuse midfielder Jennifer Markey.

THURSDAY SCOREBOARD

Mexico 18, Sweden 6
Czech Republic 13, Italy 10
China 13, Switzerland 7
Puerto Rico 14, Netherlands 3
Japan 13, Haudenosaunee 8
Hong Kong 12, Spain 1
New Zealand 10, Ireland 8
Israel 18, Korea 6
Germany 10, Wales 7
England 12, Australia 4

FRIDAY SCHEDULE
ALL TIMES EASTERN
ALL GAMES ESPN+

Italy vs. Sweden, 9 a.m.
Ireland vs. Spain, 10 a.m.
New Zealand vs. Austria, 11 a.m.
Czech Republic vs. Colombia, 12 p.m.
Haudenosaunee vs. China, 1 p.m.
Germany vs. Latvia, 2 p.m.
Japan vs. Argentina, 3 p.m.
Israel vs. Norway, 4 p.m.
Australia vs. Canada, 5 p.m.
Korea vs. Puerto Rico, 6 p.m.
Wales vs. Jamaica, 7 p.m.
United States vs. Scotland, 8 p.m.

STANDINGS

 

POOL A

W/L

PCT

1

England

1-0

1.000

2

United Sttaes

1-0

1.000

3

Scotland

0-0

0.000

4

Australia

0-1

0.000

5

Canada

0-1

0.000

 

 

POOL B

W/L

PCT

1

Israel

1-0

1.000

2

Puerto Rico

1-0

1.000

3

Norway

0-0

0.000

4

Korea

0-1

0.000

5

Netherlands

0-1

0.000

 

 

POOL C

W/L

PCT

1

Latvia

1-0

1.000

2

Germany

1-0

1.000

3

Jamaica

0-0

0.000

4

Wales

0-1

0.000

5

Uganda

0-1

0.000

 

 

POOL D

W/L

PCT

1

Hong Kong

1-0

1.000

2

New Zealand

1-0

0.000

3

Austria

0-0

0.000

4

Ireland

0-1

0.000

5

Spain

0-1

0.000

 

 

POOL E

W/L

PCT

1

China

1-0

1.000

2

Japan

1-0

1.000

3

Argentina

0-0

0.000

4

Switzerland

0-1

0.000

5

Haudenosaunee

0-1

0.000

 

 

POOL F

W/L

PCT

1

Czech Republic

1-0

1.000

2

Mexico

1-0

1.000

3

Colombia

0-0

0.000

4

Italy

0-1

0.000

5

Sweden

0-1

0.000

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