The United States will take on Canada for the gold medal at the first ever IFAF Women’s World Championship at 7pm / 1pm EST on July 3 having breezed past Finland 72-0 at the Zinkensdamms IP Stadium in Stockholm to top group A with a 2-0 record.
Finland (1-1) will face Germany (1-1) for the bronze medal at 3pm / 9am EST on Sunday after the Germans were beaten 20-12 by Canada (2-0) earlier on Thursday. Sweden (0-2) and Austria (0-2) will meet at 11am / 5am EST for fifth place.
Kansas City Tribe running back Rusty Sowers claimed a second-straight MVP award as she scored a hat trick of touchdowns among the Americans’ 11 visits to the end zone, with two scoring grabs and the first punt return for six points in tournament history. Nine different US players scored touchdowns, while linebacker Elina Seppala was named the MVP for Finland.
Team USA has now scored 135 points in two games and conceded none, making them a formidable Gold Medal game opponent for Canada on Sunday. The Canadians have scored 32 points and conceded 18 in their two wins.
Jenny Schmidt from the KC Tribe started at quarterback for USA after Finland had gone three and out on the opening possession and hit Sowers for a key third down conversion on the Americans’ opening drive. New York Sharks receiver Adrienne Smith, who scored the first points in IFAF Women’s World Championship history on Sunday, took a quick screen pass for a 17-yard touchdown and a 7-0 USA lead with 8:50 remaining in the first quarter.
Finland recovered a surprise USA onside kick attempt, but after Pittsburgh Passion’s Sharon Vasquez almost intercepted a second down pass from Finland quarterback Jenni Wahlberg, a sack by Olivia Griswald of the Passion on fourth down meant the US took over on downs from their own 35.
The rushing of Sowers, Boston Militia’s Mia Brickhouse and a quarterback sneak on fourth down kept the chains moving and on her fifth carry in a row for, Brickhouse went in for a five-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the Americans 13-0 ahead with 3:03 to play in the first quarter.
An eight-yard Merita Bruun scamper and pass interference call on fourth down gave Finland momentum, but penalties and a tough USA defense forced Finland to punt as the opening quarter came to a close.
USA came out firing in the second and after Desiree Weimann of the South California Breakers took a screen pass for a 35-yard gain, Schmidt tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Sowers for a 19-point advantage after the extra pointer sailed wide.
Bruun and Laura Haapaniemi both earned first downs in reply and Finland had a touchdown called back for pass interference, a penalty that proved costly as a USA sack then resulted in a fumble and USA recovery.
Sowers caught two consecutive receptions from Chicago Force quarterback Sami Grisafe to take the ball to the Finland 25-yard mark and the same combination over 20 yards produced a fourth USA touchdown and a 27-0 lead after a successful two-point conversion.
Finland turned the ball over and both teams were forced to punt before Wiemann took a screen pass from Grisafe 47 yards for another USA score with no time left on the clock and a 34-0 lead at halftime.
Dallas Diamonds two-way player Jessica Springer danced in untouched for another US touchdown and a 41-0 lead and Grisafe added a quarterback sneak for 47-point advantage with 5:55 still left to play in the third quarter.
Melissa Pickett of the New York Sharks took a toss 31 yards for another USA touchdown and a 53-point advantage 2:02 left in the quarter before another quarterback keeper, this time from Melissa Gallegos of the Southern Cal Scorpions brought up 59 points despite another missed extra point.
Finland found it impossible to keep the Americans out of the end zone when punting as Sowers returned a punt for a touchdown and a commanding 65-point lead.
Julie Shockley from the Sacramento Sirens did most of the work on the final US scoring drive and ran the ball in from 15 yards out to complete the 72-point shutout.