USA Women Edge Canada 22-20 in First Leg

The USA Women edged Canada 22-20 in a closely contested affair.  Both teams appeared tight to start the match struggling to score and setting the tone for a defensive minded match.  The first half was close throughout with a one goal lead by either side for most of the way eventual and at the break the U.S. held a 12-11 lead.  The 2nd half saw each side manage a “mini-run” to surge into the lead.  Canada came out gunning and was able to overtake the U.S. getting ahead 16 to 14 at one point.  The U.S., however rallied to tie the game and then went on a 3-1 mini-run for the eventual 22-20 final score.

As has been their standard for the past few years, the U.S. women made it very tough for Canada to score in a set offense.  The taller American side’s wall made it virtually impossible for Canada to score at distance and limited their scoring pretty much only to the occasional breakthrough or wing shot.   Canada, meanwhile, utilized a 3-2-1 defense to great affect disrupting Team USA’s rhythm offensively and limited quality shots on goals.  At times it also forced turnovers leading to much needed fast break opportunities for the Canadians.

Nicole Andersen led the U.S. with 8 goals and Julia Sayer added 5. All but 1 of Team USA’s 22 goals came from four backcourt players (Andersen, Sayer, Rhoads and Darling) while Canada had a very balanced with their 20 goals coming from 9 different players.

The U.S. takes a two goal lead in the two match aggregate playoff.  The U.S. will advance for certain with another win or a 1 goal loss.  Canada will advance with a 3 goal win.  In the event of a two goal Canadian victory the next tiebreaker is away goals scored meaning that the U.S. will need to beat Canada’s 20 goals at Auburn to advance. The second leg of the match will be in Montreal on Wednesday night at 1900 Eastern Time (0100 CET, Thursday Morning).  The match will be live streamed on the Quebec Handball Federation Facebook page:  Link


USA:  Nicole Andersen (8), Julia Sayer (5), Jence Rhoads (4), Kathy Darling (4), Monaye Merritt (1)

Canada: Emily Routhier (3), Myriam Laplante (3), Abbey Renee Perry (3), Audrey Marcoux (3), Myriam Zimmer (2), Catherine Leger (2), Haven Wong (2), Katya Chan (1), Rosali Langlois (1)

Video:  USA – CAN Women (Leg 1): Link