Women’s Eagles Upset No. 3 Canada For First Victory Of Super Series 2019
CHULA VISTA, CA – Following a third-round bye, the USA Women’s Eagles came back to the fourth round of Super Series 2019 to notch a meaningful 20-18 victory over No. 3 and reigning Super Series Champions Canada. It was the first time that USA women had defeated Canada since 2015, tying the overall record at 19 wins a piece. And, as the first test match victory of 2019, a needed confidence boost for the young squad.
“The excitement was just tangible, we could feel the energy going into the game actually, in warm ups even,” said Emily Heinrich, Player of the match for her heroic efforts through the game. “We were all talking about it and it just kept our nerves calm. It’s amazing to win, especially against Canada who is such a talented team. It’s been nice, it was the build-up of the past two games going into this one to get the victory.”
The United States were impressive defensively, stopping three Canadian tries to create a second-half shutout and forcing numerous turnovers to create opportunities. Both Captain Kate Zackary and Elizabeth Cairns forced penalties at the breakdown in the first and second halves, respectively, where Alev Kelter stopped a huge Canadian line break to collect a loose ball and send it back the other way.
Canada were on the board early in the 6th minute but strong runs by Fane Haungatau and Alev Kelter allowed the United States to take a threatening stance against their opposition. Kris Thomas added strong line breaks, herself, breaking tackle after tackle to keep momentum alive.
A penalty kick by Alev Kelter in the 13th minute put the first U.S. points on the board, after which Canada countered by building a 3-15 lead.
The U.S. found a comfortable drive later on where Alycia Washington muscled her way down field and Ashlee Byrge made a beautiful pass to Emily Henrich for Henrich’s first international try, 8-15.
After a penalty kick by Canada, the USA went into the halftime break with confidence.
Into the second half, fresh legs from the Eagles’ bench created masterful efforts to keep the Canadians out of the zone and put two more tries on the board.
Turnovers both created and saved by Alycia Washington were crucial to the USA keeping their northern rivals from taking any considerable advantage. Then, Alev Kelter turned the tide midway into the half by beating a quartet of defenders en route to a try that cut the deficit to just three points with ample time remaining.
Then finally, as fans hinged at the edges of their seats, a thrilling offensive display created the match-winning try. Emily Heinrich made another powerful run before passing to Rachel Johnson. Johnson moved the ball to Katana Howard who made a perfect kick to the corner of the try zone where Kris Thomas outsprinted Canadian defenders to spike it down, 20-18.
Author: Sam Wexler.