Eagles cannot hold on to halftime lead, lose Can-Am Series

Eagles cannot hold on to halftime lead, lose Can-Am Series

LANGFORD, British Columbia -- Despite a stronger defensive performance, the Women’s Eagles could not hold off Canada as the Maple Leafs claimed the second match of the Can-Am Series and the Can-Am Cup Saturday. Fifteen penalties enabled Canada to rally for a 14-10 victory.

Canada won the Can-Am series 2-0.

“It’s a hard loss to take,” said head coach Pete Steinberg following the loss. “We feel like the game, today, we should have won.”

A much-improved effort fell just short for the Eagles, who held a 10-0 lead at the break.

“The performance on Tuesday wasn’t good enough and we’ve worked really hard the last three days to step up, and we stepped up our performance today,” said Steinberg. “But we have to learn from this game.”

The players, too, feel the game was bittersweet.

“It’s disappointment that we know we can play better than we played,” said eight-man Kate Daley. “But also a little bit of excitement that we know that we can play better. We’ll play better at the World Cup.”

Defense highlighted the Eagles’ performance, allowing very minimal gains from the Maple Leafs, who posted 51 points in the first game of the Can-Am Series.

“We had a little more continuity and we built the wall on defense better,” noted hooker Katy Augustyn of the team’s performance.

The Eagles saw tries from Amanda Street and Sharon Blaney as Canada capitalized on a try from Elissa Alarie. The Maple Leafs also had Magali Harvey connect on a penalty kick as Amanda Burk hit two of her attempts at goal to round out the scoring.

Strict defense highlighted the scenes of the first half. A very drastic change for the Eagles from their Tuesday performance, as the U.S.A. allowed nine tries on the day.

Both sides stood tall, allowing the opponent no ground. However, the Eagles were able to break down the Maple Leafs twice for scores as the half wore along.

The opening frame saw a drastically different contest than Tuesday. Only from penalties and free kicks did the ball change location on the field. Defenses remained firm, giving the opponent no ground.

For the second half, penalties plagued the Eagles and the lively Canada side relied on its substitutions to come back. Connecting on three of four penalty kicks, a try gave the Maple Leafs all they would need to seal the match.

Only once did Canada pierce the Eagles defense in the opening moments, taking the ball deep into the attacking territory. However, a stringent line held the Maple Leafs at bay forcing a penalty for the ball to be cleared.

Finally, after the stalemate had resumed for a majority of the half, the Eagles and Street struck first. Streaking 60 meters down the sideline, the wing dotted down in the corner.

The rain picked up and so did the Eagles.

Keeping the momentum going, the Eagles marched down the field to punch in another score. Blaney capped off the drive by sneaking around the breakdown and put the Eagles ahead 10-0.

Again, the Eagles pushed right back into Canadian territory for the waning moments of the half. For several minutes, the Eagles held possession within five meters of the try line, but could not get the score.

Canada stood strong to end the half, keeping the score at 10-0.

For the second stanza, both teams came out with excitement in their play, but neither team could capitalize on the others’ mistakes. Handling errors plagued any momentum for either side.

Breaking the Eagles defense, Canada was able to move into attacking territory, forcing the U.S.A. into a penalty. Harvey was able to make the most of the penalty, slotting the kick from 22 meters out, taking the score to 10-3.

Penalties again allowed Canada to have its next scoring opportunity in nearly the same spot. However, Harvey was unable to connect on the kick.

The Eagles continued to be haunted by penalties, giving the Maple Leafs and Harvey a chance at redemption only moments later. A yellow card to eight-man Daley allowed the fullback to bring the game even closer at 10-6.

Slowly, Canada moved down the field, gaining big chunks after several penalties against the U.S.A. After a series of offloads, Alarie gave Canada the lead with a try.

At 11-10, Canada had the upper hand and kept moving forward.

Burk pushed the Maple Leafs’ lead following a penalty from 30 meters out to make it 14-10 Canada as the half edged towards a close.

A final drive by the Eagles was thwarted by Canada to seal the victory and the Can-Am Series.

With the 14-10 victory, Canada claimed both games of the series.

The Eagles will host a Top-50 Camp May 24 to June 1 at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colo.

Following the Top-50 Camp, the Eagles will head to Wales and England for three matches. The tour will run from June 24 to July 7 and feature a match against Wales followed by two against England.

The three matches will be the Eagles’ final preparatory matches before heading to the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 in France.

Women's Eagles | v Canada
1. Sarah Chobot
2. Katy Augustyn
3. Jamie Burke
4. Stacey Bridges
5. Sharon Blaney
6. Shaina Turley (C)
7. Lynelle Kugler
8. Kate Daley
9. Carrie White
10. Kimber Rozier
11. Erica Cavanaugh
12. Sadie Anderson
13. Emilie Bydwell
14. Amanda Street
15. Meya Bizer

Women's Eagles | Reserves
16. Sarah Wilson (@ 73')
17. Libby Berg (@ 58')
18. Samantha Pankey (@ 58')
19. Amanda Kingzett (@ 68')
20. Mel Denham
21. Jennifer Lui (@ 64')
22. Erin Overcash (@ 73')
23. Jacie Vonada

Women's Eagles | 10
Tries: Street, Blaney
Conversions: None

Canada | Roster
1. Marie-Pier Pinault-Ried
2. Kim Donaldson
3. Olivia DeMerchant
4. Kayla Mack
5. Latoya Blackwood
6. Jacey Murphy
7. Karen Paquin
8. Kelly Russell
9. Stephanie Bernier
10. Kayla Moleschi
11. Elissa Alarie
12. Amanda Thornborough
13. Brittany Benn
14. Arielle Dubissette-Borrice
15. Magali Harvey

Canada | Reserves
16. Laura Russell
17. Hilary Leith (@ 40')
18. Ashley MacDonald (@ 40')
19. Tyson Beukeboom (@ 24')
20. Cindy Nelles (@ 64')
21. Julia Sugawara (@ 71')
22. Andrea Burk (@ 40')
23. Jessica Dovanne (@ 64')

Canada | 14
Tries: Alarie
Conversions: None
Penalties: Harvey, Burk (2)

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