The U.S. Women’s National Team Conquers World Cup Pool Play with Polished Record
Team USA upsets South Africa and Solidifies a Monumental Semi-Final Position
THE HAGUE, Netherlands – June 10, 2014 – The U.S. Women’s National Team is making an undeniable, global statement by wrapping up pool play at the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup with an undefeated record against the top-tier world ranked national teams. The United States left Greenfields Stadium against South Africa with a 4-2 win to confirm a historic semi-final position. This is the first time in 20 years the U.S. has been in a semi-final match at the World Cup
South Africa drove the ball with ferocity into their attacking end where strong periods of play took place in the first half. The United States’ backfield was put to the test with rapid fire shots and quick ball movement as the South African squad swarmed the ball carrier to apply immense pressure. In the 35th minute, Team USA earned their only corner of the half, sending a streamlined shot destined for the backboard of the goal cage, but a South African foot denied the opportunity thus giving way to the umpire signaling a stroke. The red, white and blue’s Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach, Va.) took to the sweet spot of the circle with cool composure aiming just right of the opposition’s keeper to head to halftime with a score of 1-0.
Quick off of the line, South Africa didn’t waver in intensity. Marsha Cox delivered a precise shot from the top right of their attacking circle in the 36th minute to equalize the match. The even score was short lived when USA's Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.) didn’t hesitate to dive onto the turf, redirecting a drive from the top of the circle off of the team’s second corner opportunity. Reinprecht buried the ball to into corner of the net to regain the lead.
“We hold ourselves to high expectations for the entire 70 minutes,” said USA defender and captain Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa.). “When we begin falling short of those standards we look to each other to pick ourselves up. We didn’t play to our potential the full match, but we were able to find that strength from the entire to team to deliver results.”
USA’s Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.) continued the front-foot attack by sprinting with purpose toward the cage, weaving through South African defenders until she was in the clear to send a sure goal into the net. South African interference gave way to another penalty stroke opportunity. Crandall stepped up to send a successful low shot to the corner to extend the gap USA 3, South Africa 1. South Africa still full of spirit, responded in two minutes when Lisa-Marie Deetlefs translated a sweep off of a corner opportunity into a goal. A back and forth battle ensued with the United States feeling more comfortable in their second half game flow. In the 56th minute Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.) connected a drag flick from the top of the circle to the bottom left of the cage to make a final score of USA 4, South Africa 2.
“South Africa came out strong from the start,” said Head Coach Craig Parnham. “In the second half we really got ourselves in order and responded to a situation that could have gone out of control. We’re pleased with today’s outcome and look forward to a high-tempo match against Australia.”
The World Cup started for Team USA with competition against England where the red, white and blue won 2-1. The team then went onto tie Argentina 2-2. China proved to be another hard-fought battle, but the United States prevailed 5-0. Next, the United States beat Germany 4-1. The USA will contend next against Australia in the semi-final match on Thursday, June 12 at 10:00 a.m. EST. All matches can be viewed live by clicking here or watching ESPN3.
Chase the Cup with U.S. by following @USAFieldHockey on Twitter and checking the team’s official website usafieldhockey.com
About USA Field Hockey
USA Field Hockey is the national governing body for the sport of field hockey in the United States and is based in Colorado Springs, Colo. USA Field Hockey is committed to providing opportunities for our 23,000 members to participate, develop and excel as players, coaches, umpires and administrators. The U.S. Men's and Women's National Teams strive for competitive excellence in Olympic, Pan American Games, World Cup and other International competitions. USA Field Hockey is a proud member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Hockey Federation. For more information, visit usafieldhockey.com.