World Lax: US Women’s U19 team to face Australia in semi-finals

Photo courtesy of US Lacrosse

PETERBOROUGH, Ontario — The United States posted its second straight shutout, downing Wales 26-0 to advance to the semifinal round of the 2019 World Lacrosse Women’s U19 World Championship at Trent University.

The U.S. will meet longtime rival Australia in the semifinals. Australia, which has reached the championship game in five of the previous six U19 world championships, edged Japan 8-7 in the quarterfinals on Madison Copeland’s goal with 6:30 remaining in the game. The U.S. beat Australia 12-4 in its opening pool play game last Friday.

Highlighting Wednesday night’s win was the return of co-captain Elizabeth Hillman to the field. Hillman injured her knee during practice last Thursday, the day before the first U.S. game of the tournament, and had yet to play in the first four victories.

Moments after coming into the game she scored her first goal of the tournament and later added an assist in her brief action during the game. She was honored as the Player of the Match.

“It’s just getting used to that brace, but other than that I felt really good,” Hillman said.

Hillman obviously would have preferred to be on the field sooner, but hasn’t let the setback detract from her experience at the world championship.

“It’s been a lot of fun, honestly,” Hillman said. “Despite everything that’s been going on, it’s been an incredible experience to meet all these girls. Definitely being back on the field for the first time and looking out and realizing I’m playing against another country was something different. It was awesome.”

Fueling the U.S. victory was continued domination of the draw at the tournament. Maddie Jenner and Greta Stahl split the duties in the circle and combined to win 25 of 29 attempts. Jenner had 11 draw controls, Stahl had eight and Bri Gross had four.

The possession advantage led to another offensive explosion. Caitlyn Wurzburger scored just 11 seconds into the game and had another big night with four goals and four assists. Megan Carney also contributed eight points, notching three goals to go along with five assists.

The U.S. had assists on 19 of its 26 goals and all 13 players that played on offense during the game registered at least one point. Kasey Choma, Leah Holmes and Belle Smith all had hat tricks and Michaela McMahon had three assists.

The starting defensive trio of Gross, Ally Murphy and Brooklyn Neumen helped stifle the few offensive opportunities Wales had and goalies Madison Doucette and Rachel Hall combined for three saves, all on free position shots, in the shutout.

Thursday’s semifinal against Australia will be played at 5 p.m. and will be streamed live on both Lax Sports Network and the Olympic Channel. The second semifinal at 8 p.m. will feature host Canada against England.