United States beats Team Canada, captures gold at Women’s World Championship

After being held scoreless in the first quarter of both previous games, the United States proved that it could score in the opening period, and in all of the rest as Team USA downed Canada 41-16 to win their third straight Women’s World Championship, at McLeod Stadium in Langley, BC, Canada.

The Canadians opened the scoring however when American punt returner Satoria Bell dropped the ball and DB Kaitlynn Girouard recovered on the U.S. 39. They drove to the 17 before stalling, and Carly Dyck kicked a 38 yard field goal to put the Canadians ahead 3-0. USA answered immediately, when Sammi Grisafe passed WR Jeanette Gray from the 27 for the score. Melissa Strother added the PAT to make it 7-3 USA. Canada once again drove deep into USA territory, but on 4th down, they tried a fake field goal, which failed.

The USA demonstrated that the Mexicans were not the only team that could use trickery when Grisafe passed back to WR Angela Baker, who threw to Gray for a 66 yard touchdown. After the Strother extra point, the USA led 14-3. After the Americans missed a field goal attempt, they added another first half touchdown when RB Odessa Jenkins ran 3 yards for a score with 1:27 left, and Strother added the PAT. Canada struck back before the end of the half. With 0:09 left, Aimee Kowalski hit Alex Kowalski for a 39 yard TD pass, but the PAT failed, so the score at half was 21-9 for the USA .

Photo: Geoff White Images

With Lisa Horton at QB, the USA opened the second half with a quick score. With only 1:11 gone, Horton scored from the 11, but the conversion was blocked. After forcing Canada to punt, the USA drove from their own 8 to the Canadian 11. The Canadians sacked Horton, and threw her down so violently that the ball squirted out. DB Rebeckah Heninger recovered at the 24 and took it all the way to score a 76 yard fumble recovery. Dyck added the PAT, and the USA’s lead was cut to 11 points on the final play of the third quarter.

After a long pass from Horton to Ashley Whisonont brought the USA to the Canada 15, RB Alexis Snyder carried it in from there to increase the American lead to 34-16. Hannah DeGraffinreed finished the scoring when she ran 21 yards into the endzone, With the Strother PAT, the score stood at 41-16.

USA was closing in on a final score, and seemed intent on adding to their total. But after a streaker wearing nothing but a Canadian red cowboy hat ran the length of the field, they took a knee to end the game. That was one of the lighter moments in an intense game that featured crunching tackles. The immediate impression of the game was that the pace of football had quickened, once the top two teams took the field against each other. That intensity lasted for the entire game, and was a fitting finale to the IFAF Women’s World Championship.

The players of the game for the Canadians was WR Laurence Pontbriand, and for the USA it was Ashley Whisonont.

For the championship, the Offensive MVP was awarded to Sammi Grisafe, and the Defensive MVP went to DL Kimberly Marks, both of Team USA.

Russ Crawford is an Associate Professor of History at Ohio Northern University in Ada, OH. He has published three books: Women’s American Football: Breaking Barriers On and Off the Field (2022), Le Football: The History of American Football in