Wroclaw, Poland (July 22, 2017) – Continuing their upward trajectory, the U.S. defeated Australia 13-7 this afternoon in game three at the 2017 World Games. After starting off a little rocky against Colombia yesterday, the U.S. settled in against Canada to finish day one with a 1-1 record. In their first game on day two, the team exhibited strong defensive pressure and patient offense against Australia’s zone looks.
After starting with an offensive hold, the U.S. took control early with two straight breaks. The first was the result of tough defensive pressure that focused on taking away under cuts and forced a high-stall turfed throw. The second came after Beau Kittredge ran down a help D on an Australian huck to the end zone. Australia got on the board at 3-1 and came down in one of their zone defenses. They run several varieties, including 1-3-3 and a 1-4-2 sets, and they each managed to slow down the high-powered U.S. offense. This was the first long point of the game, with multiple turnovers on both sides coming off of execution errors and tough throws. The U.S. got back a couple of the turns with heads-up defense – one a help D from Dylan Freechild and another from Sarah Griffith quickly jumping the lane on an Australian in-cut. But eventually Australia got their one and only break of the game on a great catch from Cat Phillips who laid out to reel in a low hammer from Tom Tulett, who happens to be a a club teammate of Jimmy Mickle’s with Denver Johnny Bravo.
Phillips wound up with three goals in the game, but the U.S. women did a great job of limiting the Australian playmaker’s impact – pretty much everyone took a turn matching up with her.
Despite the sometimes slow-moving offense, the U.S. rebounded from the Australian break and went on a 4-0 run to reach halftime ahead 7-2. Griffith closed out the half with a huge sky, going up and over her defender to reel in a floaty cross-field throw from Freechild, despite the defender having inside position.
“I heard Surge Griffith is the new Beau.” – Nick Stuart
Coach Alex Ghesquiere used the short half to talk with the team about how to more effectively beat Australia’s zone defense, pointing out options for the downfield cutters and tweaking handler movement, reminding them that they “don’t need to solve the zone problem with one throw.”
Both teams seemed to work more quickly in the second half. A few more of Australia’s frequent deep looks landed where they were intended, despite often flat marks from the U.S. defenders. Australia stuck with their zone looks throughout the game, but the U.S. adjusted. The handlers moved the disc more quickly in the second half, with Anna Nazarov, Chris Kocher, George Stubbs, Grant Lindsley and Georgia Bosscher largely leading the handling corp and moving the team down the field.
The U.S. added one more break to their tally on the first point of the second half, before the teams traded for the remainder of the game. In the end, the U.S. took the win 13-7.
Japan is up next for the U.S., with the game scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m. local time (12:30 p.m. EDT).