MILL BAY, BC -- Handling errors and defensive miscues proved costly for the Women’s Eagles to the tune of a 51-7 scoreline and the worst loss to Canada in program history Tuesday. The Maple Leafs exploited each advantage to capture the first game of the Can-Am Series.
Canada’s wide attack pattern saw Magali Harvey and Julianne Zussman tally three tries apiece in the game.
“Canada played a wide and fast game and that was something that we couldn’t keep up with,” Eagles Head Coach Pete Steinberg said following the loss. “They did a great job and it showed that we need to make some changes heading into Saturday.”
In total, Canada was able to run in nine tries on the day on the back of five players.
“We struggled and they capitalized,” said Steinberg.
Shaina Turley had similar sentiments to the game and Canadian opposition, as well.
“All credit to Canada,” she said. “They came out hard, won their ball, and they executed their game plan. We ended up not playing our defense and it really hurt us in the end.”
However, the team must move on.
“We talked about what lies ahead of us,” said Steinberg of the message to his players. “That game is done and now we look forward to Saturday. Our goal is to grow from every game and this outcome makes it no different.”
Meya Bizer was able to account for the Eagles’ lone try, crashing through the Maple Leaf defense midway through the second half. Flyhalf Sadie Anderson was able to convert on the inside center’s try.
“Obviously the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but you could see glimpses of great play from us,” said Bizer.
Steinberg saw the same thing from his team.
“We had glimpses of really great play, but couldn’t string together series of play to make it work,” mentioned Steinberg.
The Eagles now turn to Saturday for the final match of the Can-Am series. Kickoff for the match is slated for 3:30 P.M. PT (6:30 P.M. ET) at Westhills Stadium in Langford, British Columbia.
Four turnovers led to four tries in the first half, with Canada capitalizing on each opportunity. A 22-0 Maple Leaf lead at the break proved too much of a deficit for the Women’s Eagles to overcome.
Canada only boosted its first half lead, running in five second-half tries to claim the match.
Back-and-forth breaks for each team opened the game seeing Canada capitalize first from 30 meters out. Kayla Mack touched down following the run to give Canada a 5-0 edge.
Despite driving efforts, penalties thwarted the U.S. attack in the opening segments of the game, each time being halted at midfield.
Zussman made the most of the early U.S. miscues, finding a hole in the defense and running 22 meters for a try.
Again driving efforts were turned away by Canada. However, a penalty gave way to the Eagles’ lone scoring opportunity in the half. Despite the attempt, Anderson was unable to connect from 20 meters out.
Right back to its attacking pattern, outside center Mandy Marchak pushed the game further in Canada’s favor. Andrea Burk converted to make it 17-0 Maple Leafs.
To close out the half, Harvey was able to repeat what she had done in 2013 at Nations Cup. The try, following a 50-meter break, came as the whistle sounded and Canada ahead 22-0.
Harvey picked up exactly where she left off in the opening set, mirroring her first try. Burk converted to push the Maple Leafs lead, 29-0.
Not to be outdone by here teammate, Zussman ran past the U.S. defense for her second try on the day.
At 36-0, Canada was not done there. Again, Zussman broke the U.S. defense to dot down for a try. Harvey added to her point total by converting the try, making the score 41-0 Canada.
The Eagles came knocking at the Maple Leaf try line, but the miscues again led to Canada turning the tables to race down the field and score. Turning the ball over, Canada quickly kicked the ball out of its territory.
With no one back to field the kick, Jessica Dovanne scooped up the bouncing ball and outran defenders for the try, making it 46-0. Harvey’s conversion went wide.
The Eagles did not quit, though, finally punching through in the waning moments of the game. Anderson converted Bizer’s try to lessen the deficit at 46-7.
Once more the U.S. defense folded, seeing Dovanne run through for a 60-meter try.
The try concluded the scoring at 51-7 and the Canada victory.
The win gives Canada a 1-0 lead in the Can-Am series.
On the game, Jamie Burke earned her 43rd cap with her start at prop. The honor furthers her total as the most-capped in program history.
Three players got their first caps for the Women’s Eagles - Tess Kohanski and Jacie Vonada donned the red, white, and blue jersey for the first time, along with Amanda Kingzett as a reserve.
The match was the first non-World Cup contest in the month of April for the U.S.A. The Eagles now hold a 7-2 record during the month following the loss.
Despite it being the first matches of the season, both sides know each other well, having last played during the 2013 IRB Women’s Nations Cup.
The July meeting saw the host Eagles best the Maple Leafs, 29-17, at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colo.
In the contest, Sarah Chobot dotted down twice for the Eagles, coming on as a reserve prop. Lynelle Kugler joined Nathalie Marchino and Kristin Zdanczewicz by also adding tries on the day.
To round out the scoring for the Eagles, kicking duties were assumed by Kimber Rozier and Bizer, who accounted for a conversion kick each.
For Canada, Sammy Crandell, Jane Kirby, and Laura Russell claimed tries during the match. Harvey converted one of the three tries.
Tuesday’s match was the 29th time the teams have squared off against each other. It was also the 14th time Canada hosted a series contest.
Women's Eagles | v Canada
1. Naima Reddick
2. Tess Kohanski
3. Jamie Burke
4. Stacy Bridges
5. Molly Kinsella
6. Mel Denham
7. Phoebe Boone
8. Shaina Turley
9. Jennifer Lui
10. Sadie Anderson
11. Ryan Carlyle
12. Meya Bizer
13. Emilie Bydwell
14. Amanda Street
15. Jacie Vonada
Women's Eagles | Reserves
16. Katy Augustyn (@ 51')
17. Sarah Wilson (@ 46')
18. Libby Berg (@ 61')
19. Sharon Blaney (@ 40')
20. Amanda Kingzett (@ 64')
21. Carrie White (@ 64')
22. Kimber Rozier (@ 48')
23. Erin Overcash (@ 54')
Women's Eagles | 7
Canada | Roster
1. Laura Russell
2. Kim Donaldson
3. Hilary Leith
4. Kayla Mack
5. Latoya Blackwood
6. Barbara Mervin
7. Karen Paquin
8. Kelly Russell
9. Stephanie Bernier
10. Kayla Moleschi
11. Magali Harvey
12. Andrea Burk
13. Mandy Marchak
14. Brittany Waters
15. Julianne Zussman
Canada | Reserves
16. Asya Bartley
17. Marie-Pier Pinault-Ried (@ 46')
18. Mary Jane Kirby (@ 40')
19. Tyson Beukeboom (@ 65')
20. Jacey Murphy (@ 59')
21. Julia Sugawara (@ 54')
22. Brittany Benn (@ 46')
23. Jessica Dovanne (@ 49')
Canada | 51
Tries: Mack, Zussman (3), Marchak, Harvey (3), Dovanne
Conversions: Burk, Harvey
Women's Eagles | v Can-Am Series
v Canada - Saturday, April 19 - 6:30 P.M. ET