Canada have been notable at this event for their desire to huck it at every possible opportunity, across all divisions. Their conversaion rate has typically not been high, but given the fact that they play such stifling and athletic defence and the hucks make their opponent drive the full length of the field for a score, it’s worked more often than not. That was certainly the story of this quarter-final match up. Having lost 8-6 to the upstart Spanish in pool play, Canada were clearly keen to exert their authority.
Canada started on O, and scored within 60 seconds. Only six minutes into the game they were 3-0 up thanks to a D roll and some uncharacteristically loose Spanish offence. They turned again on the fourth point but some huck turns from Canada allowed them to eventually work it in for their first point of the game. The Spanish D line immediately seized back one of the breaks, pouncing on a Canadian throwaway. Several times, Spanish cutters made excellent catches on low throws including a nice grab by Aida Pena for the score. Spain then threw a zone to stifle the Canadians and limit their long game, despite the fact that Canada had turned far more than they had scored with hucks thus far.
Still, the ploy worked and Spain got the disc back. They struggled to find any kind of flow and handed the disc back to Canada, who attempted a wild, supremely speculative huck to space. Spain shook off their previous struggle to find momentum and swung the disc beautifully to level the scores. It looked as though the game had shifted to the Europeans, who were making great cuts and finding space from the Canadian D on the open side.
The next point was a turning point. It featured 10 turns – yes, many from Canadian hucks – but eventually Megan Kidston got an IO flick into the diving Naomi Redmond and Canada took a 4-3 lead. Given how long the points were taking, that was half.
Canada took yet another break to start the second half, sending a high rollcurve pass into the endzone after several turns from both sides. They built on that with a fourth break of the game by executing the first perfect huck for a score, Kidston floating it out for Krystal Dos Santos to reel in. They broke for a fifth time on the next point, effectively ending the game. A spectacular layout block from Jenna McLeod set the tone and eventually Marie-Eve Beauchemin found Erin Daly for the score. The teams traded from here on out, Spain constantly looking for ways to generate turns, but despite alternating between woman and zone defence and several more Canadian turns on long shots, they couldn’t find a way through. Isabel Prada and Marta Arija did all they could, but it wasn’t enough. The game ended, somewhat fittingly, on an inch-perfect huck from Allison Short to Daly to give Canada the 9-5 win. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
By Sean Colfer.