2019 U19 Australian Women's Team wins Bronze!

WA representatives in the 2019 U19 Australian Women's Team
WA representatives in the 2019 U19 Australian Women's Team  

Australia is back on a World Lacrosse podium for the first time since 2013 as our U19 Australian Women's Lacrosse Team 2019 used a huge 6 – 0 opening quarter to defeat England 13 – 8 in the bronze medal game at the 2019 U19 Women's Lacrosse World Championship.

In windy conditions at Trent University, Molly Dunham got the start in the cage for Australia and Olivia Schellekens for England. Madison Copeland went to the middle as she had done for most of the week and she claimed the opening draw pushing Australia into attack. England briefly came up with the ball but the Australian ride forced the turnover. The opening set for Australia looked patient, setting a lot of off ball picks for teammates and it freed up Georgia Latch for her first shot of the game which Schellekens was up to, but she couldn’t corral the save and Bonnie Yu was on hand for the scraps, making no mistake up close to opening the scoring. Australia then pressed deep into attack again and this time, Latch made no mistake, finishing from the free position shot to extend Australia’s lead to 2. After 4 minutes, England were finally able to push forward but Australia’s opening defence of Olivia Wills, Abby Thorne and Hannah Gough were up to the task, turning the ball over when Thorne won the race to the end line off of an Isabelle Struelle shot. Australia were buzzing and after transitioning into attack and drawing the free position, Olivia Adamson unselfishly passed to Latch who made no mistake putting the shot past Schellekens high score her 2nd of the game and Australia’s 3rd as England had seen enough and called a timeout. England pushed forward but again but the English offence looked disjointed, struggling to get into any flow, turning the ball over. The English defence looked to return the favour, but the Aussie ride was looking good early, forcing another turnover in transition, which freed up Latch on the corner for her 3rd goal of the game, again from the stick of Adamson. The Aussie ride would come up trumps again on the next possession and this time, it was Adamson who would be on the end of some handy work to make it 5-0 and then Indyah Williams got into the action from Adamson again to make it 6 – 0, concluding a quarter of utter dominance from Australia.

After out-shooting England 9 – 1 in the first, Australia looked to press but in a shift from the first quarter, it was the English defence who would start to generate some offence and at the other end Georgina Southorn got England on the board after 16 and a half minutes. 90 seconds later, the come back was officially on, this time through Camilla Home and suddenly it was England who were the dominant side with the opening 3 shots of the second quarter. England were dominating through the middle and they looked to cut the margin to 3 but Molly Dunham got into the act with a big save, and that seemed to slow England’s run as Australia pressed forward. The England defence were proving hard to crack but eventually, Ocea Leavy drew the free position shot and she used her electric speed to free her hands, and push the score to 7 – 2. Australia went back into attack where the sides traded turnovers with England ultimately unable to get out of defence but when they did, they made Australia pay, with Southorn adding to her tally when she was found free by Hannah Thurston and then after another English draw control, Camilla Home found herself some space on the drive down the right hand side and suddenly England had 2 in a minute to make it 7 – 4. England almost made it 3 in 2 minutes but the English shot went wide and after a slow methodical clear which saw Dunham ducking and weaving, Australia were out. The clock was now in play as the seconds ticked down, but in a captain’s move, Bonnie Yu finished the half the way it started with a nice step and a precise finish to send Australia to the half leading 8 – 4. That closed a half of contrasts, with Australia’s 9 – 1 first quarter shot edge being reversed in the second quarter as England outshot Australia 7 – 4 to cut a 6-goal deficit to 4 at the main break.

Australia came out of the break eager to capitalise on the chance of momentum late in the second quarter and the Footscray connection delivered with Yu dragging the English defence high, finding Latch cutting from X where Latch slipped through 3 defenders to finished high and extend the margin back to 5. England looked to respond and after forcing the turnover on the Australian clear, the Aussie defence was caught out of position and Southorn put the shot past Australia’s new keeper Tyshia Skuse. The sides traded possessions with Australia settling into offence with Madison Copeland finding some room to score her 10th of the game. Rhiannon Panting then claimed a draw control, clearing under immense pressure to push Australia forward where Latch found herself one on one but Schellekens, who remained in net for England, made the huge doorstop save to keep the margin at 5. Hannah Gough and Ocea Leavy combined to clear the ball for Australia in the fact of a feverish Australian ride but Australia couldn’t capitalise and it was Gough that would be called into action against forcing the turnover on an English break to give Australia one more chance which Latch claimed with both hands, caressing the pipe off of a late free position shot to complete a 4 – 2 quarter for Australia and the lead was back to 6.

England needed as fast start trailing by 6 and they turned to Southorn who had kept England in the game, and she made no mistake, putting the ball off the deck to make it 11 – 6. England then went back to work and Green made no mistake off of a free position shot to cut the margin to 4 with 12 minutes left. Both sides enjoyed some opportunities to add to their scores and England looked to get the closest until Skuse made a huge save. At the other end, Copeland had a goal disallowed when fouled but she made it count from the free position to get Australia out by 5. Both sides were giving it that all, and there were a couple of timeouts to allow bleeding players to be taped up including Cecily Green and Copeland. Copeland claimed the ball from the ensuing draw but the English defence forced the turnover as England went back to work with 5.30 left but Skuse came up with another huge save top give Australia some respite. Skuse would then be called into action again a minute later when Southorn went searching for her 5th goal and instead Skuse made her 3rd save of the quarter to push Australia back into attack and with England pulling the keeper in an attempt to turn the ball over, Latch took full advantage scoring her 6th goal to give Australia an almost insurmountable lead at 13 – 7 with 3 minutes to go. England almost got one back immediately but Skuse, who was Australia’s star of the last quarter, making her 5th save on the trot to stonewall England. Anna Saunter eventually ended Skuse’s late stand but it would not be enough as Australia prevailed to claim the bronze 13 – 8.

For Australia, Georgia Latch was the MVP with an incredible performance which included not only 6 goals but 4 very important caused turnovers in transition. Madison Copeland was huge through the middle of ground and chipped in with 2 goals of her own while Bonnie Yu played a captain’s game to finish with 2. At the other end, Hannah Gough was a standout as was Abby Thorne while Tyshia Skuse’s 5 last quarter saves sealed the win for Australia as our U19’s returned Australia to A World Lacrosse podium. In the pre-game Taylah Comeadow was awarded Australia’s Spirit of Lacrosse for the Championship.

Congratulations to Jen Adams and Stacey Morlang and the sides coaching staff on a fantastic tournament and an even bigger congratulations to our Aussie U19’s on their performance both on and off the field!

Australia, 2019 World Lacrosse U19 Women’s Bronze Medalists!!!

Australia 13 (Latch 6-1, Yu 2-1, Copeland 2, Adamson 1-3, Williams 1, Leavy 1) def England 8 (Southorn 4, Home 2, Green 1-1, Saunter 1, Thurston 0-1, Devine 0-1)

The above article has been reprinted with the permission of the Australian Lacrosse Network.

 

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