Host Canada Stuns Australia With Last-Second Winner
|Canada's Kailyn Morissette reacts
to a goal in her team's win against Australia to open its FIL World
Cup pool play schedule on Friday night.
© Tim Bates/Game Day Photography
OSHAWA, ONTARIO - Home field advantage proved to be worth its weight in gold for Canada in their opening game at the 2013 FIL Women's Lacrosse World Cup.
The Canadians got an all-world performance on offence from Abbey and Mandy Friend, a solid effort in goal from Katie Donohoe and a clutch goal in the final minute of regulation from Cristi Foote in a 12-11 victory over Australia under the lights at Oshawa's Civic Recreation Complex.
And while it was only the first game of the tournament for Canada, the magnitude of the victory wasn't lost on the squad.
"I don't think we've actually ever beaten Australia at the World Cup," Friend, she of the three-goal effort, said moments after. "It was a big game for us. We had the day off (Thursday) and they had a little bit of practice underneath their belts, so we want to come out strong and show that the day off didn't matter and we could take them on."
Friend got Canada's offence rolling early, scoring the team's first two goals, while sister Mandy Friend added another in the first half -- her first of four -- and two more came off the stick of a hometown girl of sorts as Kailyn Morissette, a native of nearby Bowmanville, Ontario, potted a pair, including one that allowed Canada to enter the halftime break down just one at 7-6.
The back and forth continued in the second half with Australia grabbing a pair of two-goal leads at different points. However, Canada never let the game get too far out of reach, often responding in short order.
Friend said the support of the home crowd helped them remain even keel most of the evening, even when Australia was at its best.
"It's amazing. To be able to represent Canada is awesome and to be able to do it on this field with these fans, it's just a great experience."
Those fans Friend spoke of were treated to quite an ending.
Canada took a late 11-10 lead and looked primed to hold on before Australia, on a goal from Hannah Neilsen, tied things up with 4:36 to go.
A little back and forth ensued and following a huge save by Donohoe in the Canada goal with two minutes remaining, the ball went up the other way with Canada holding for a chance at a final shot.
The opportunity came earlier than they had planned, but Foote made no mistake in burying the deciding goal.
"At that point in the game, we were in a pretty good position to win," Foote said, recalling the final play. "To get it back and Mandy dodged from the top and I just caught and ripped it. That's all it is."
Dana Dobbie also had a goal for Canada.
Australia, which was playing without the services of star attack Jen Adams, out with a torn ACL, was afforded one final possession, but time expired before they had a legitimate chance to put home the equalizer.
Stacey Morlang Sullivan paced the Australian offence with four goals, while Neilson added two and two assists. Sarah Mollison, Sonia LaMonica, Karen Morton and Courtney Hobbs also scored.
Canada returns to action Saturday night against England, while Australia will enjoy an off day before getting back at it Sunday night against Japan.