Still On Top: Team USA Prevails at the 2022 World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship

The tournament is over, and a victor has been crowned––for the fourth time in a row. Also: Canada’s role in an epic rivalry, and England’s path of perseverance. 

By Alexandra Cadet

Four. F-O-U-R. That’s how many consecutive times the U.S. Women’s Lacrosse team has won the World Lacrosse Championship. The Americans bested Canada 11–8 in the final on Saturday, capping off an undefeated tournament campaign and becoming the first-ever team to win the Championship on home soil. 

Team USA with the trophy. (Photo courtesy of UNC Women’s LAX)

The close match against their neighbors to the north was a change of pace for Team USA, since they breezed through many of their previous tournament games in high-scoring, dominant fashion. But the team adjusted quickly––at least according to midfielder Taylor Cummings. “We just started to play a little bit smarter valuing the ball,” said Cummings. “When we’re up with shot clock, we can be pickier about the shots we’re taking.”

Any stacked team can pick apart an opponent while only using their plan A. But it takes a truly special squad to show versatility in close games, which is just what Team USA did on Friday. “We worked for five years to be here and be under this kind of pressure,” goalkeeper Liz Hogan revealed to The Baltimore Sun. “We knew that we had each other’s back and that we had that kind of trust. So no matter what happened––if they tried to stall or throw something crazy at us––we had each other’s backs, and we were going to pull it out.” That type of preparedness is what helps to make the U.S ladies legendary instead of simply great. It’s also what makes them the reigning World Champions.

A Reborn Rivalry

After a hard-fought tournament, Team Canada will have to settle for silver. They put the pressure on the Americans––never falling behind by more than four points in the final––but the victors were ultimately too good for the outcome to be any different.

With the match on Saturday, another chapter in one of the best rivalries in lacrosse was written. While the U.S. were favorites in the tournament, Canada fought them to the end, from their tight group stage battle to the fateful Championship match. “We want to see this team again,” said Canadian coach Scott Teeter after their initial group stage match against Team USA. “And hopefully it’s for the gold medal.” Two world-class teams lock themselves in a competitive rivalry––and even enjoy pushing each other to the limit. If that isn’t a boon for the sport, what is?

From Contenders to Champions

While the Americans and Canadians chased the trophy, England earned bronze with a triple-overtime win over Australia. Goalkeeper Brittany Read had to make an impressive thirteen saves to lock up their podium finish. “Good for the crowd. Good for TV. Not good for my heart,” said their coach Phil Collier

England won one other thing besides a shiny medal: renewed confidence in their ability to win. Despite their path to the trophy looking tough, the England squad never lost their hope for greatness and their ambition to become World champs. “The U.S. is favored by a mile. Everyone knows that,” Collier said to USA Lacrosse Magazine earlier in the competition. “But what’s the cheesy expression? ‘Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up.’” Thanks to their successful tournament campaign, England can walk away knowing that they truly were fierce contenders. And who knows––maybe they’ll walk away from the next edition as champions.

What’s Next?

It’s safe to say that this year’s World Championship was a success. Despite suffering a year-long delay due to the pandemic, the tournament was contested by a record-breaking thirty teams. That’s right: thirty. What’s more, accessibility certainly wasn’t a struggle––every game played was made available to watch on ESPN’s streaming platforms. 

All this progress begs the question: what’s next for the sport? For now, there’s Athletes Unlimited, set to debut their second-ever lacrosse season next Thursday. Numerous top-tier athletes and draftees––including Brittany Read––are set to make an appearance and battle it out for this season’s crown. The league’s return will definitely satisfy lacrosse fans eager for more international competition or NCAA action. Until then, let’s celebrate the conclusion of another great World Championship and all that it had to offer.

A full table of results at the World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship can be found here. A full schedule of Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse Season 2 can be found here.

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