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USA-Canada Rematch in Pan Am Final

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USA-Canada Rematch in Pan Am Final

Canada and the USA will meet in the Pan Am Games women’s Gold Medal match, as the pair finished atop the six-team field with near-perfect records. Both teams were 4-0 heading into the final pool play game against each other, while Canada had not surrendered a point-against, and the USA had only given up 14. The home side dictated the first half and then some, and built a 34-point lead before the USA could answer. Canada banked a 34-12 victory and some important confidence heading into the final match of the day.

Both teams are very familiar with each other, and it’ll be interesting to see how the roster fluctuates for the Gold Medal match. Several USA starters – like Alev Kelter, Lauren Doyle, and Kristen Thomas – were saved for the second half, and their presence made a difference. Canada withheld some important players, too, like Ghislaine Landry and Karen Paquin, as well.

That said, the first half belonged to Canada. The USA handed over possession shortly after kickoff, as an unforced knock-on placed Canada deep in the Eagles’ end. Magali Harvey sidestepped some would-be tacklers out wide, and then the ball moved to open space, which Natasha Watcham-Roy attacked eagerly for the try.

Canada kept the ball for the remainder of the half, challenging restarts and needing only a couple of phases before overpowering defenders out wide. Missed tackles along the sideline allowed Nadia Popov (2) and Britt Benn to score tries, but Canada took some opportunities through the middle – Jen Kish’s hand-off to Sara Kaljuvee in tight support for a try – and stole possession on the ground (Kelly Russell’s breakdown poach set up Kaljuvee’s second try).

The USA got some more touches in the final quarter and got on the board after a midfield free quick. The USA showed that it has some power, not just speed, out wide, when Kate Zachary pushed off of Watcham-Roy for the try, which Katie Johnson converted, 34-7.

The Eagles ended well, launching an aggressive defense deep in Canada’s end. The home side did well to recycle the ball, and the USA did well to spread its defenders. Eventually, Canada knocked on, and the USA used the advantageous scrum for a final try. Zachary darted for the corner and used her power to rebound off of the cover tackle and regroup with a dive into the try zone, 34-12.

Expect more punch from both sides in the final, which occurs at 6:20 p.m. E.T.

Canada 34
Tries: Kaljuvee 2, Popov 2, Benn, Watcham-Roy
Cons: Harvey 2

USA 12
Tries: Zachary 2
Cons: Johnson

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