England Beat Canada on Day 3 of the Stars and Stripes Tour
With an 8am start time, the England team beat the sun to the pitch and arrived in near darkness at 6.30am, but spirits were high for the biggest game of the tournament so far.
With the infamous Dana Dobbie at centre the English team were pumped with anticipation as the first whistle blew. Despite not getting the possession off the draw, England were first on the score sheet with a cracking free position from Kirchheimer.
Previous encounters with the Canadian side, including them snatching a medal off the English in the 2009 World Cup, were not in vain since we knew of their attacking strengths. Late night (9pm) team tactic sessions were implemented well by the defence who were able to shut down the Canadian drives from the top, directed by strong communication from Gaunt in goal. Resulting turnovers took the ball into our attacking end where a strong perimeter motion was established and several goals were converted (Brett, Finnegan, Smith, Merrifield, Lafferty). The half time score stood at 7-3.
The team talk reminded us to keep our heads, maintain our high shooting percentage and rein in our fouls, which had unfortunately risen to match the level of our physical opponents.
The Canadian draw control continued to be strong in the second half and some of their possession was put to good effect, with 6 minutes to go the score was 9-6 to England and then 2 quick goals brought us to 9-8 with a minute to go.
Then followed a controversial attempt on goal by Merrifield, who having checked the scoreboard, believed us to be drawing. She hit the bar and the rebound was skillfully collected by Kirchheimer and put away. This gave us a 2 goal lead with 42 seconds on the clock, however the Canadians weren’t finished at the red flag call and attempted a final shot at the England net, which was denied by Keogh’s left thigh.
The final score stood at 10-8 to the English, a great triumph for this young team.
Australia Prove Too Tough
Heading into the last game of the tournament we were tired but still determined to compete at a high intensity. There were significant stretches of England attack possession in the first half but none of our shots hit the back of the net. A converted penalty from Higson gave England a goal in this half, but Australia used a number of strong crease rolls and feeds from behind to lead 5-1 at half time.
In the second half Australia continued to take their attacking opportunities and had a large number of assists that racked up their goal count. 2 more goals for England came from Kirchheimer and Finnegan but overall the England shooting percentage was low and although our attitude never faltered the tiredness had taken its toll. The final score was 14-3 to the Australia.
Overall we have met our team goals and it has been a really successful tour with 4 out of 6 wins and a lot has been learnt from all the games. A positive stepping stone in the build up to the 2013 World Cup.