Wooden leads Eagles to defeat of Canada, 1-1 Super Series record

RED DEER, Alberta - Overcoming a flurry of tries and an early deficit, the Women's Eagles defeated Canada in the Women's Rugby Super Series, 36-28. The U.S. ran in five tries against the Maple Leafs on the way to reclaiming the Can-Am Cup.

"That was an amazing game," said captain Jane Paar. "I am so proud of the team, how we overcame the challenge in the beginning of the game and being scored on."

Utilizing scrums as a strong attacking platform and seeing a near-perfect kicking performance from Kimber Rozier, the Eagles also connected on defense to hold out the Maple Leafs, and move to 1-1 in the Super Series as a result of the win.

"We took our opportunities. We tightened up the defense and had an attacking mindset," said Head Coach Pete Steinberg. "It was a great match."

The Eagles now look to take the momentous victory into the final Super Series match against New Zealand.

"We improved throughout the game and I am excited for us to continue to improve and go play the Black Ferns," continued Paar.

Capitalizing on numerous line breaks, Jessica Wooden led the charge on attack, scoring two tries against the Maple Leafs. The full back was rewarded for her efforts by being named Player of the Match.

"It was an honor to be selected as player of the match, but without the relentless efforts of my teammates it would not have been possible," said Wooden. "We are looking forward to continuing to grow and put our best effort out against the Black Ferns."

Despite early pressure and being down 21-8 after 20-minutes, the U.S. was able to thwart the strong Canadian attack, allowing only one try through the latter stages of the match.

"We are getting better on defense," said Steinberg. "Our tackle contest has been an emphasis and we improved in the match today, but we need to do a better job against New Zealand."

Although defense was a main focus during training, Steinberg did take note of the team's increased ability to finish on attack, which it struggled to do against England.

"Overall, it was a much better performance than what we had against England," said the Eagles' head coach. "We showed that we have the athletes that can finish and we put the ball in their hands more in this game."

Steinberg noted having a "young and athletic side" competing against an experienced Canada squad. Twelve Maple Leaf players competed in last year's World Cup.

"We have a lot to learn and our experience showed at the end of the game," said Steinberg of the Eagles team that played four players from the previous World Cup.

Canada was able to run in its only second-half points during the waning moments of the contest.

Pressure from kickoffs led to nearly 30 points being scored within minutes of the opening whistle. Three converted tries from Canada combined with a try and penalty goal from the U.S. highlighted a fast, back-and-forth opening segment.

The Eagles, however, turned in a staunch defensive to finish the half on the back of a dominant scrum performance. As a result, Joanna Kitlinski and Jordan Gray were able to touch down for tries following set pieces.

The U.S. set up the desired attacking platform after several line breaks and ensuing penalties at the breakdown.

Countering a clearing kick in the opening minute, Latoya Blackwood finished a break through a broken Eagles defense for the game's first try. Andrea Burk converted for an early, 7-0, Canadian lead.

From the ensuing kickoff, the U.S. was able to return the pressure, resulting in a penalty attempt for Rozier. Slotting the kick from 20 meters out, the Eagles lightened the deficit, 7-3.

Lisa Gauthier answered for Canada on the very next possession. After several phases of play the wing was able to sneak around the outside to set up an easy conversion from Burk and a 14-3 lead.

Stretching from sideline to sideline following a lineout, Paar pushed around the edge of a breakdown for her side's first try of the match. Rozier was unsuccessful on the conversion, leaving the score 14-8.

Burk kept up the strong Canadian attack with a 60-meter break and try. Alex Tessier added the conversion from in front of the posts.

Next, Kitlinski capitalized on the Eagles' powerful scrum, responding for an Eagles try. Rozier kept up with scoring frenzy by making the conversion kick.

Holding Canada at bay despite several phases deep in Eagles territory, the U.S. flipped the pressure as the half rolled. Following a long break from wing Kelsi Stockert, a penalty set up Gray to punch in the try from a five-meter scrum. Rozier gave the U.S. the lead with the conversion.

The Eagles rode out the remainder of the half to take the 22-21 lead into the break.

The U.S. kept the pressure on in scrums to start the second half. Utilizing the attacking platform, Wooden was able to chip over the defense before outdistancing Maple Leaf defenders for a 70-meter try. Rozier extended the Eagles' lead by making the conversion kick - 29-21.

Wooden copied her first score moments later, dotting down a second try.

The Eagles remained in control through several breakdowns before the full back outdistanced defenders for a 50-meter try. Converting on the kick, Rozier pushed the score line, 36-21.

Canada picked up momentum as the game wore on with numerous scoring opportunities. Although several escaped the Maple Leafs throughout the final moments, Julianne Zussman was able to finish the break for Canada's only score of the second half. Converting her own try, the score was set at 36-28.

The Eagles claimed the match, improving to 1-1 in the Women's Rugby Super Series.

The Eagles face New Zealand Sunday, July 5. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. MT at Ellersby Rugby Park in Edmonton.

The match is the final match in the Women's Rugby Super Series for both teams.

Women's Eagles | v. Canada

1. Catherine Benson (Faaee @ 62')

2. Kathryn Augustyn (Pankey @ 57')

3. Hope Rogers

4. Stacey Bridges

5. Molly Kinsella (Washington @ 62')

6. Joanna Kitlinski

7. Elizabeth Cairns (Parsons @ 68')

8. Jordan Gray

9. Deven Owsiany (Lui @ 71')

10. Lauren Rhode (Dalal @ 66')

11. Cheta Emba (Heavirland @ 57')

12. Kimberly Rozier

13. Jane Paar

14. Kelsi Stockert

15. Jessica Wooden

Women's Eagles | Reserves

16. Samantha Pankey

17. Baylee Annis

18. Tiffany Faaee

19. Alycia Washington

20. Sara Parsons

21. Jennifer Lui

22. Nicole Heavirland

23. Bianca Dalal

Canada | v. USA

1. Laura Russell (C)

2. Mary-Jane Kirby (Folk @ 69')

3. Olivia DeMerchant (Picketts @ 71')

4. Tyson Beukeboom (Provencal-Aube @ 62')

5. Maria Samson (Murphy @ 46')

6. Barbara Mervin (menin @ 71')

7. Latoya Blackwood

8. Cindy Nelles

9. Lori Josephson (Neilson @ 69')

10. Alex Tessier (Smith @ 53')

11. Lisa Gauthier

12. Andrew Burk (Allen 66')

13. Amanda Thornborough

14. Katie McNally

15. Julianne Zussman

Canada | Reserves

16. Tiffany Picketts

17. Julia Folk

18. DaLeaka Menin

19. Camille Provencal-Aube

20. Jacey Murphy

21. Gillian Allen

22. Jess Neilson

23. Natasha Smith

Women's Eagles | 36

Tries: Paar, Kitlinski, Gray, Wooden (2)

Conversions: Rozier (4)

Penalties: Rozier

Discipline: Dalal (Yellow)

Canada | 28

Tries: Blackwood, Gauthier, Burk, Zussman

Conversions: Burk (2), Tessier, Zussman

Women's Eagles | Women's Rugby Super Series

v. England - L 39-13

v. Canada - W 36-28

v. New Zealand - Sunday, July 5 - 4 p.m. MT