Canadian thrashing

WWC 2013:  Canada opens IFAF Women’s Worlds with convincing 50-0 win over Spain

Julie David set the tone for the contest early on as she ran for two touchdowns in the first quarter for Canada. Competing against newcomer Spain at ISS Stadium in Vantaa, Finland, a crowd of 312 were on hand.

Having helped the Saskatoon Valkyries to a third consecutive WWCFL championship, David is riding a wave of momentum. Starting on Spain’s 39-yard line, Canada’s opening drive found David dashing for a 14-yard run.

Following an incomplete pass by Saadia Ashraf, David would then run for 16 yards as Canada regained the first down. She would finish the drive with a 9-yard score as Lara Guscott (who competes with the Kansas City Tribe of the Women’s Football Alliance) earned the extra point conversion.

After Spain punted on their first possession, Canada relied on Julie David again. With Ashraf struggling on the pass, David carried the ball three times. She would finish the drive with a 5-yard score as 6:26 remained in the first quarter.

With Spain fumbling after a second drive that resulted in -19 yards, Canada regained the ball. Despite David rushing for 23 yards on the drive, two penalties nullified her efforts. Aimee Kowalski, a WWCFL quarterback with the Regina Rage handled punting duties. Her 23-yard punt was fumbled by Ada Quintana Mota with Canada recovering.

David provided the offense again as she rushed 22 yards before being brought down by Raquel Diaz-Garcia. With Canada on Spain’s 12 yard-line, they were in perfect scoring position. Ashraf completed a pass to Sophie Roy, who both compete together with the Montreal Blitz of the Independent Women’s Football League.

As the second quarter began with a convincing 21-0 lead, Canada would quickly score again. With Spain gaining the first possession of the second, running back Alba Izquierdo Crespo was unable to change the momentum. A kick to Canada would result in David returning it 70 yards for a touchdown.

Holding the 28-0 advantage, Spain would adjust and hold Canada’s defense on the field for five minutes and 15 seconds. Having marched 50 yards down the field, Spain showed signs of life. Azucena Munoz Martos did a superlative job with 26 rushing yards. Once at the goal line, the Spaniards were unable to score. Alexa Matwyczuk, Trina Graves and Pauline Olynik contributed with tackles as Monica Rafecas Barcelo was unable to throw for a touchdown pass on fourth down.

Taking over at their own one-yard line, Aimee Kowalski assumed the quarterbacking duties. In a drive that lasted only minute and 29 seconds, it would finish with Kowalski punting the ball away. On their next possession, Spain struggled as a series of incomplete passes forced them to punt also.

Julie Paetsch, who recovered from a knee injury to compete in the WWCFL playoffs with Saskatoon, returned the punt 35 yards for the touchdown. It would be the last score of the second quarter as Canada grabbed a 35-0 halftime lead.

The third quarter began with Spain on possession. A drive which consumed six minutes and 29 seconds displayed a valiant effort.  Izquierdo Crespo and Carmen Arroyo Moreno provided the bulk of the running attack for the Spaniards. Spain tried to convert on a fourth down and failed, giving Canada the ball back.

On what would be Canada’s only possession of the third quarter, an 84-yard drive consumed four minutes and 53 seconds. Ashraf was back behind centre and made two complete passes for 27 yards on the drive. Regina Rage running back Mallory Starkey would be the story for Canada as she accumulated 50 yards (including a 36-yard run  to put Canada in scoring position) while making a one-yard run for the touchdown.

As the fourth quarter began with an insurmountable 43-0 lead for Canada, Spain’s first possession resulted in another fourth down disaster. With Izquierdo Crespo attempting to gain three yards for the first down, she was tackled for a nine-yard loss by Julie Paetsch.

Starting at Spain’s 48-yard line, Starkey would quickly add to the Canadian lead. On second down, Starkey exploded for a 47-yard score. Guscott would get the conversion for a 50-0 lead. While Spain would accumulate 31 yards on their next possession (which would be the last of the contest), the loss was a learning experience for an ambitious squad making their debut on the international stage. Encouraging signs for Spain included 12 first downs, 110 yards on kickoff returns and 32:20 of possession time.

Emilie Belanger of the Montreal Blitz would emerge as the leading tackler for Canada with eight tackles, including four and a half for a loss. The leading tacklers for Spain were Veraya Romero Coronas and Esmeralda Gamez Narvaez with four tackles each.

Starkey and David provided 179 combined rushing yards for Canada, while Munoz led all Spaniards with 34 yards. David would provide 152 all-purpose yards, leading all competitors. Their next competition is Finland, with the winner moving on to the gold medal game.

(Photo credit:  Janne Halla-aho,

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