Waterloo, Ont. (Aug. 23, 2018) – It was another long day for the U.S. contingent, with yesterday’s schedule mirrored today for the girls’ and boys’ teams. The girls’ had three games today – all three of their power pool games, thanks to Tuesday’s weather postponements. The boys had two – their last game of pool play and the quarterfinals.
There was a lot of hype going into the day for the girls’ team. Because they were in the power pool, all three games were going to be tough tests, starting with Colombia – the top seed in the pool. Colombian youth teams aren’t necessarily known for their depth, but they do have two of the best players in the division in the world in the Cardenas sisters. After yesterday’s games, the U.S. added some more structure to their defensive offense, dictating specifically who would pick up the disc, who would be the initiation cutter, etc. That structure helped the team significantly after the turn throughout the day, and it showed early on against Colombia. The U.S. jumped out to a 4-0 lead and padded the cushion to the tune of 8-2 at halftime behind several of the now-usual suspects. Stephanie Phillips, Stacy Gaskill and Carly Campana all had big games again. The U.S. closed things out 15-7, and moved on to Canada. The defending WJUC champions took a loss against Colombia in pool play, but you can never count them out in international play. The wind was gusty today, and it was wreaking havoc with any throw that got its edge caught in the breeze. As a result, there were a number of throws popping up in the air and plenty of opportunities for skies. Points were traded through 5-4, with the U.S. in front. The first break of a game came after a D from Claire Trop. Abby Hecko made a great grab in the end zone, snagging the goal and earning Trop the assist. Trop was a part of the next break on the following point, as well. That time reeling in the goal. The U.S. scored three straight out of halftime, building a comfortable lead that they held until Gaskill found Hazel Ostrowski for the final goal – 14-10 U.S.A. over Canada. The girls’ last game of the day was against Germany. Germany had some good moments, and a couple very tall receivers, but the U.S. defense was resilient. It often took a couple chances, but the U.S. kept chipping away. The score was 8-3 at halftime and ended up as a 15-7 win.
Going into the last round of the day, standings in the power pool were totally jumbled. The only things anyone knew for sure were that the U.S. would advance to the semifinals and Japan would not. Everything else was up in the air, even to the point that if things went super haywire, Canada could be eliminated. But in the end, results went as predicted, with Colombia and Canada winning their final games and taking the power pool’s second and third spots, respectively, and advancing to the semifinals. Germany ended up in the fourth spot, meaning they’ll meet up with the U.S. again tomorrow morning in the semis.
The boys’ team started their day against Australia in the last round of pool play. With the gusty conditions, zone defenses were frequent. Which is a welcome sight if your name is Jonny Malks. He currently leads the team on the stat board, and five of those tally marks came against Australia this morning: three assists and two goals. Australia has one very tall receiver, and he accounted for a couple Australian goals. But overall, the U.S. defenses stifled Australia’s movement, forcing them to rely on high-stall deep shots. Australia only got one on the board in the first half. Things were a bit closer in the second half, but the U.S. stayed steady. Fittingly, Malks scored the final goal of the game, after working up the field alongside Kodi Smart. Malks slashed up-line to get the goal from Ted Schewe. Final score: 15-6. Malks and Smart have developed an outstanding handling report, and with lots of tall, athletic receiving targets downfield, the U.S. offense is very tough to stop. The team’s second game marked the official beginning of elimination play. As the top overall seed heading into bracket play, the U.S. matched up against the fourth team out of Pool B, Italy. Italy ran zone defense a majority of the time. They tried a couple variations, including a cup and one version that tried to shut down the handler on the open side. But no matter what they tried, the U.S. offense adjusted, filling in handler spots when needed and staying to the high side (the upwind and break side) as much as possible. When they weren’t forced to the turf by the tight U.S. cups, Italy struggled to keep their throws down and out of the wind, which pushed many things out of bounds and gave the U.S. defenders chances to swarm under the disc when it stayed in play. Italy got on the board at 5-1 and followed it up with a break, but that was the biggest high point for them. The U.S. continued to plug away and advanced to the semifinals with a 15-4 win.
After two consecutive long days, things get potentially much simpler starting tomorrow. The boys’ team gets things started at 9:00 a.m. ET in their semifinal against Belgium, who defeated New Zealand this afternoon 15-7 in their quarterfinal match up. The girls will follow at 11:00 a.m. ET against Germany.
Both U.S. semifinals will be live streamed on SportsCanada.tv. So be sure to tune in! (Direct links to come.)
- U.S.A. Boys v. Belgium – 9:00 a.m. ET
- U.S.A. Girls v. Germany – 11:00 a.m. ET
If the teams win tomorrow morning, they are finished for the day. One and done with championship finals on Saturday. If the boys don’t advance, they will play in the third-place game tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m. ET. If the girls don’t advance, the third-place game is set for 3:00 p.m. ET.
Stay tuned for more from Canada!