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| Jul 15, 2022

Masera, USA Run Past Great Britain to The World Games Final

By Matt Hamilton

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — With 30 seconds remaining in the first quarter of Friday’s matchup between the U.S. and Great Britain’s Women’s Sixes teams, Ellie Masera was lurking.

The U.S. faced a man-down situation, one of few during The World Games, and the incoming sophomore at Stony Brook found herself guarding Claire Faram when a pass was sent her way. Masera’s instincts kicked in — see ball, get ball.

She jumped in front of Faram, snagged the ball out of of the air and distanced herself from the trailing defenders with blazing speed before finishing off the fourth goal of the game — giving the U.S. momentum after a scrappy first eight minutes.

“We knew that they were going to pressure out on the clear, so if I dropped in, it would be open,” she said. “We tried to have two low and one person flying up.”

Standing at 5-foot-3 (last time her father measured her), Masera is the shortest player on the U.S. Women’s Sixes team, but she’s also one of the most dynamic. Her speed and sizes has helped her glide past opposing defenses and dodge herself into easy scoring opportunities.

“People assume that if you’re tall, you’re going to play better,” she said. “The small girls are the underdogs.”

After scoring three goals in each of the U.S.’s first two games, Masera was unleashed. Friday, she delivered the best performance from a U.S. offensive player thus far in The World Games. The Eastport, N.Y. native dropped six goals in the semifinals, helping the U.S. dominate Great Britain 21-5 and advance to The World Games championship against Canada on Saturday afternoon.

What started as a defensive battle turned into a track meet, as the U.S. pushed the pace in transition and put on a clinic in ball movement en route to the big win. Caitlyn Wurzburger tallied four points and six different U.S. players chipped in three points.

But it was Masera’s breakout game in a U.S. uniform — something the 19-year-old had always dream about, but didn’t know it would happen so soon.

“To be able to play with all these girls — you have national champions and players from a bunch of different schools — it’s really an honor,” she said.

Masera helped the U.S. jump out to another lead in the first quarter, capping the period with the caused turnover and finish to make it 4-2. Her goal ignited a seven-goal rally that included pair of score from Madison Ahern, who routinely found space to shoot.

The first half began with a slew of turnovers and defensive stops, and U.S. veteran Marge Donovan was behind much of the strong play. The Princeton defender even flipped in a beautiful underhanded assist to Kasey Choma in the second quarter.

““They sent a good double, because I’m not the best attacker,” she joked. “Kasey made an incredible cut and I saw her and popped it to her, and she made a great finish.”

Donovan, who scored her first goal at Princeton this past spring and watched as her teammates mobbed her, hasn’t had the opportunity to play in the offensive side of the field much in her career. She’s certainly enjoying the Sixes experience thus far, as she prepares to play for gold.

“You ask any defender, they’re going to say they love [playing offense],” she said. “You see the game differently. It has helped me defensively. You know what attackers want more because you’ve been there.”

Up 11-3 at halftime, the U.S. simply needed to keep the offensive momentum going and they’d seal a trip to the final. Masera continued to take advantage of one-on-one matchups and dropped three more goals in the third quarter to push the lead to 16-4 with eight minutes left.

Ahern highlighted the dominant win with a behind-the-back goal, her third of the day on three shots.