US move on to gold medal game with shutout victory over Finland
Photo credit: David Zuskind
By Ameeta Vohra
The United States will be playing for gold on Friday night in British Columbia after earning a 48-0 shutout victory over Finland on June 27 at the 2017 IFAF World Women’s Championship.
|1||10:37||USA – #9 Jeannette Gray – 28 yd Reception||6-0|
|Conversion- #83 Melissa Strother||7-0|
|2||11 :55||Team Safety (blocked kick & tackle in end zone #85)||9-0|
|10:37||USA – #12 – Ashley Whisonant – 10 yd Reception TD||15-0|
|2:16||USA – #21 – Hannah DeGraffinreed – 1 yd Rush TD||21-0|
|3||10:48||USA – #14 – Lisa Horton 1-yd Rush TD||27-0|
|7:20||USA – Lisa Baker – 33-yd Receiving TD||33-0|
|Conversion – #83 – Lisa Strother||34-0|
|3:23||USA – #10 – Alexis Snyder – 24 yd Rush TD||40-0|
|Conversion – #83 – Lisa Strother||41-0|
|4||3:46||USA – #22 – Erica Mois – 3 yd Rush TD||47-0|
|Conversion – #83 – Lisa Strother||48-0|
After a scoreless first quarter, the United States got on the scoreboard as Kimberley Marks made a huge defensive stop for a safety five seconds into the second quarter.
In the same frame, the States scored a trio of majors – Jeanette Gray had a 23 yard touchdown reception, Ashley Whisonant tallied a 10 yard major and Hannah De Graffinreed snuck into end zone for a 1 yard score.
At halftime, the United States enjoyed a 21-0 lead over Finland.
The scoring for the States continued in the second half as Lisa Horton, Angela Baker, Alexis Snyder, and Erica Mois each tallied a major.
“My hat is off to Team Finland,” commented States Head Coach Jim Farrell after the win. “They were very stout in run defence.”
“They played really hard and we have a lot of respect for the team, coach and players. And again, they turned us away the first couple of drives. Again for us it was just making some adjustments on the line and opening up the passing game a little bit. We wanted to establish the run a little bit. They were going to take the run away and switched over so we could throw the ball around.”
Farrell gave recognition to the defensive unit for their performance in limiting Finland’s opportunities throughout the game.
“Our defence is ferocious when they are out there swarming the football,” Farrell added. “We’ve got athletes at all three levels and the d-line makes it all happen and a great linebacking and a secondary.”
“It was a great defensive effort out there.”
Despite being on the losing end, Finland took some positives from Tuesday’s game.
“We definitely had a mountain to climb in the challenge of Team USA,” assessed Finland Head Coach Mika Eloranta. “We know they are the best but of course our players took the challenge and they enjoyed themselves, just having fun doing their best.”
“Our punting game hurt us a little bit and that’s why we had a player go down three times in a row, minus 20 or 25 that is too much but I am very proud of Team Finland’s effort. We tried to give a good challenge. In the first half, we did so but in the second half it was a little bit tiring but it was a good game.”
For the second consecutive game, Finland held the States off the scoreboard. Eloranta said while it was a tough task, there were a few key ways they were able to shut down their opponents early in the game.
“We just played hard,” Eloranta reflected. “We knew they have a very good quarterback, passing the ball very well.”
“They have lots of team speed so just fighting hard. We knew they were trying to pass the ball. We were just trying to hang on.”
Even though this was the second game in a row they started out slow out of the gate, the States do not feel it’s a concern heading into the gold medal game on Friday.
“The game isn’t 12 minutes long, it’s 48 minutes long,” emphasized Farrell. “Within two games, we played all of our players.”
“We are completely healthy going into the championship game. The game is not 12 minutes and we’re not trying to do anything bad to our opponents. It might take us a little bit of time going and trying to be the best ambassador of the sport we possibly can. Again we got to be doing what we are supposed to be doing – throwing the ball, the defence playing well.”
Farrell said the team has worked hard to get to this point and is honoured to be part of this group.
“Im just excited to be with this team,” he said. “They’re unbelievable women, every single one of them.”
They put themselves in a bad position in life; they put themselves in a great position in football. I’m just so happy to be with them. It has nothing to do with me, it has everything to do with them. I’m just fortunate to be with this much talent in the locker room. I have so much respect for everyone in that locker room. I really like how our flow is going right now.”
This post is also available in: French