WJAA learn tough lessons in Can-Am Series

“We came to Canada with the intention of improving ourselves and achieving the goals we set as a team, which we were successful in doing" - fly half Bayleigh Gable

OTTAWA - The Women's Junior All-Americans second match versus Canada started out with some technical difficulties; literally and figuratively speaking. The live stream feed was down for the initial part of the match, and by the time the stream was up, Canada had managed to score and convert two tries. The slow start didn't deter the All-Americans from pushing on though. USA answered back with a try of its own from No. 8 Adi Finau Tamaivena as a result from a successful line-out. Army's Bayleigh Gable converted the kick to cut Canada's lead in half. Canada was back on form, though, taking turnovers and little mistakes and turning them into meters up field, and in a few cases, points on the board. Taejah Thompson and Mckenzie Pusch help further Canada's lead before the half with tries of their own.

"Canada are a physical side, particularly at the breakdown, so you can't allow your basic skill execution drop at all," said Head Coach Wil Snape. "The players had some tough moments but refused to let their heads drop and did the jersey proud."

The second half of the match offered an early opportunity for the All-Americans after solid turnovers and Canadian penalties set WJAA Captain Suiluana A'Au up for a relentless carry into the try zone. Gable was not able to convert A'au's try, locking things in at 26-12 early in the second half. A missed kick to touch turned into a
 positive counter attack for Canada, as a chip kick into USA's backfield was fielded but not distributed with care. The loose ball allowed for a Canada's fly half Julia Schell's foot to push the ball into USA's try zone and let her dot down for a five points.

Turnovers at the wrong time and penalties prevented USA from putting more points on the board the rest of the match. Meanwhile, Canada's ability to maintain possession allowed for Julia Schell, Genevieve Kasa-Vubu, Niamh Haughey to touch down for Canada. USA continued to not back down and really raised the bar of physicality from the first match. When the sir's whistle blew to end the match, the final score was 50-12 in favor of Canada.

"We came to Canada with the intention of improving ourselves and achieving the goals we set as a team, which we were successful in doing," Gable said. "We didn't get the final outcome that we wanted, but we truly played for each other and now we know what we need to work on for next time."

WJAA will remain dormant until the next National All-Star Competition (NASC) and Elite Player Camps. Most of these athletes head back to their respective collegiate or club seasons to continue to compete and develop. A 2018 Can-Am Series is in the tentative plans to continue to offer opportunities to gain high-level competition experience for both USA and Canada.
Snape went on to explain how, "players like A'au, Navarro, Durbin, and Henrich have all come up through the Girls High School All-Americans and continue to grow. The program also allows for players like Finau Tamaivena and Milla Anderson to challenge themselves at the next level. The coaching staff is already looking forward to the next opportunity the program will have."

WJAA | v. Canada

  1. Kristina Tomelloso
  2. Hannah Lewandowski
  3. Anni Rolf
  4. Milla Anderson (VC)
  5. Taylor Makowski
  6. Edna Manoa
  7. Michele Navarro
  8. Adi Finau Tamaivena
  9. Kat Ramage
  10. Bayleigh Gable
  11. Kainoawaianehea
  12. Suiluana A'au (C)
  13. Emily Henrich
  14. Becca Jane Rosco
  15. Lily Durbin
  16. Jade Garcia
  17. Michele Reyes
  18. Natalie Gray
  19. 19. Joanna Moreira
  20. Mary-Jane Pasioles
  21. Olivia Ortiz
  22. Caitline Weigel
  23. Alexandra Strasser

Canada | v. WJAA
1. Veronica Harrigan
2. Jennifer Appleby
3. Kasselle Menin
4. McKinley Hunt
5. Abigail Duguid
6. Emilie Nicholl
7. Tobi Owotomo
8. Gabrielle Senft (C)
9. Sasha Guedes
10. Julia Schell
11. Taejah Thompson
12. Mckenzie Pusch
13. Jordyn Orlando
14. Christina Branch
15. Alexandra Ondo
16. Sarah Cline
17. MP Fauteux
18. Sydney de la Mare
19. Harley Tucker
20. Genevieve Kasa-Vubu
21. Taylor Donato
22. Niamh Haughey
23. Ellen Spannagel

USA | 12
Tries: Tamaivena, A'au
Conversions: Gable

Canada | 50
Tries: Harrigan, Senft, Pusch, Thompson, Schell (2), Kasa-Vubu, Haughey
Conversions: Thompson (3), Schell (2)
Disciplines: Pusch (Yellow)