U.S. Pulls Away from Canada in World Championship Opener


U.S. attacker Sam Apuzzo celebrates after scoring one of her three goals Wednesday in a 16-11 win over Canada in the World Lacrosse Women's Championship opener at Towson.

TOWSON, Md. —  If the opening game of the World Lacrosse Women’s Championship was any indication, expect fireworks over the next 10 days at Towson University.

Charlotte North scored four goals in her international debut and Marie McCool and Sam Apuzzo added hat tricks to lead the host United States to a 16-11 win Wednesday over Canada.

The U.S., which has won three straight world championships and eight overall but has never claimed the title on home soil, led for the entirety of the game but did not truly pull away until late in the fourth quarter.

“This team is going to be a work in progress throughout the tournament as we get challenged by opponents and learn more about ourselves,” U.S. coach Jenny Levy said. “I love that the game got tight tonight. It really showed what we need to do to dig our cleats in and handle a little adversity.”

Playing at a blink-and-miss-it pace, the world’s top two teams put on a show. The first half alone featured three behind-the-back goals, a buzzer-beater called back and a spinning backhand blast.

The last one drew the loudest roar from the crowd at Unitas Stadium. It came off the stick of Dana Dobbie, Canada’s 37-year-old attacker who turned back the clock with three goals and a behind-the-back assist.

“I think if you just don’t stop playing, you don’t realize that you can’t do it anymore,” Dobbie joked.

“Dana Dobbie is going to be a thorn in our side until she decides to retire,” U.S. midfielder Emily Parros said. “But I’m OK with it. She’s a great competitor.”

What Dobbie did retire Wednesday was the notion that the U.S. would run the table in this tournament unopposed.

After the Americans opened a five-goal lead in the third quarter — the byproduct of a 10-man ride Canada coach Scott Teeter said caught the team by surprise — the Canadians answered with a three-goal run to start the fourth. A sidearm lefty rip from Dobbie from just inside the arc made it 12-10 with 10:53 remaining.

But Parros swung the momentum back in favor of the U.S., converting a look-away alley-oop feed from Kayla Treanor with a quick-stick goal that pushed the lead back to three with 7:10 remaining.

The U.S. outshot Canada 32-15 and scored three more goals during a late flurry to put the game away.

Parros finished with two goals, an assist, three draw controls and a caused turnover — factoring prominently in the full-field pressure scheme reminiscent of the U.S. team’s dominant run to the title in 2017 — to earn Player of the Match honors.

“Transition is engrained into our program,” she said. “It’s who we are.”

After the game, hundreds of fans — mostly young girls — lined up behind 35 sections of steel barricade with their U.S. team posters for players to sign. The autograph line went more than 90 yards. The sight made Levy smile as she searched for her parents in the stands.

Asked if the moment was what she expected, Parros replied, “A hundred percent. I look out and I see all these little girls, and that’s why we do what we do. We want them to be in our position but even better the next time. Ten years ago, you could ask any little girl, who was on the World Cup team? They couldn’t do that. Now they can do that. We’re pushing the boundaries on where women’s lacrosse can go. This is a phenomenal start.”

On the other side of the stadium, Dobbie encountered her fair share of admirers as well. Whereas the U.S. fed off its transition, Canada fed off Dobbie’s creativity.

“The past couple World Cups we probably tried to play too much of a U.S. style of lacrosse. We know we can’t match it. We don’t have the numbers. We don’t have the university competitiveness to do that,” Dobbie said. “So we went back to more backyard lacrosse — freestyle, box lacrosse, move the ball, keep it hot and get the pass off where it is. I’m so happy that we’re playing that way at this point in the world championship.”

It wasn’t just Dobbie that challenged U.S. defenders. Aurora Cordingley had two goals and two assists and Alie Jimerson had a goal and three assists. Goalie Kameron Halsall kept Canada close with eight saves, including five in the first half.

Both teams are off Thursday. They pick up pool play again Friday when Canada plays Australia (5 p.m. ET) and the U.S. plays Scotland (8 p.m. ET).

“We want to see this team again,” Teeter said, “and hopefully it’s for the gold medal.”


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