Photo credit: Geoff White (gw-images)
By: Ameeta Vohra
Host country Canada gave the hometown crowd something to cheer about as they opened the IFAF World Women’s Championship with a 31-6 win over Australia. The victory capped off a great opening day of football at the IFAF Women’s World Championship in Langley, BC. Canada will now play Great Britain on June 27 at 7:30 p.m. PT.
Carly Dyck got Canada on the scoreboard early with a 34-yard field goal in the first quarter.
|1||8:35||Canada – #4 Carly Dyck – 34 yd FG||3-0|
|2||11:07||Canada – # 30 Olivia DeMerchant – 5 yd Rush||9-0|
|Conversion #4 Carly Dyck||10-0|
|5:48||Canada – #80 Laurence Pontbriand – 30 yd reception||16-0|
|Conversion #4 Carly Dyck||17-0|
|3||6:14||Australia – #6 Kristy Moran – 10 yd Rush||17-6|
|3:03||Canada – #14 Julene Freisen – 13 yd Rush||23-6|
|Conversion #4 Carly Dyck||24-6|
|4||9:34||Canada – #31 Virginie Roussel – Fumble Recovery||30-6|
|Conversion #4 Carly Dyck||31-6|
Later in the same frame, Samantha Matheson helped Canada get great field position as she returned the ball all the way down to the Australian 22-yard line. Julene Friesen advanced the ball to the eight-yard line by the end of the quarter.
The drive itself was completed early in the second quarter as on fourth down, Olivia DeMerchant dashed into the end zone.
At halftime, Canada extended their lead 17-0 when Laurence Pontbriand scored a 30-yard rushing major.
Australia would get on the scoreboard in the third quarter as Kristy Moran tallied a 10-yard major.
Canada would respond back again as Player of the Game Cassey Brick got the team in good field position as she returned the ball to the Australian 45-yard line. Julene Friesen tallied a 12-yard rushing major to extend Canada’s lead 24-6.
Virgine Roussel rounded out the scoring for Team Canada as she recovered a fumble in Australia’s end zone.
“I thought it was a very good football game,” said Canada’s Head Coach Jeff Yausie. “We really didn’t know what to expect going into the game.”
“We knew Australia would be well coached by the coaching staff. They play with a lot of heart and fire. For us as a team, we spread the ball around quite a bit. In the past, we’ve seen a lot of blowout games in the first round of the tournament and this was not a blowout.”
Not only did Australia give props to Canada for the victory, the team was content with the effort they put forth on Saturday.
“We knew that going in, Canada would be a formidable opponent,” commented Australian Head Coach Jen Welter. “I’ve had the honour of playing them before and they did a great job as expected.”
“For Team Australia, I am beyond proud of their first international competition. I think it shows truly how much potential they have in a young game and a great country that is dedicated to all the codes of football. I think it shows just how promising of a future this sport has.”
Despite losing the game, Australia came out with so many positives from their performance.
“I think that all of our ladies know that they have a place on the international stage and that they belong here,” said Welter. “Going in, they didn’t know what to expect.”
“I think now that they know, there isn’t an opponent that we don’t have a shot at beating. I think it was great to get those nerves out of the way because I promise you that there is even a better football team once we get that out of the way.”
While Canada lost yardage due to penalties in the second half, the team is not concerned going forward in the tournament.
“I thought it was a disciplined football game,” added Yausie. “I didn’t think it was a dirty football game.”
“The players were playing hard and I didn’t see it as a concern.”
As the host team in the tournament, the team is feeding off the energy of the hometown crowd but also motivated by the support and love of family, friends and fans.
“We’re loving it,” expressed Brick. “We’re super pumped to represent Canada here at home and have a big crowd behind us.”
“It’s just a great feeling.”