Team USA Continues Upward Growth on Impressive Global Journey as World Watches with Wonder
The U.S. Women’s National Team, World Ranked 10th, places fourth at Hockey World Cup
THE HAGUE, Netherlands – June 14, 2014 – Global glory was within arm’s reach during the bronze-medal match between the U.S. Women’s National Team and Argentina at 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup. The Kyocera Stadium contained more than just 15,000 seats for hockey fanatics but also within its confines held an enormous amount of unparalleled talent. Despite displaying infinite grit and emptying all energy on the pitch, the United States fell to Argentina in a close match of 1-2.
“Coming into the World Cup with a World Ranking of 10th and finishing the tournament in fourth place justifies the hard work of these athletes,” said Head Coach Craig Parnham. “We made changes as a program and the conclusion of this tournament is bearing a little bit of that fruit.”
Recognizing the prestigious tournament hardware at stake, the match kept an up-tempo speed from the umpire’s opening whistle. The United States held composure against Argentina, World Ranked 2nd, by creating depth with composed back-slotted passes to move the ball around, find holes in Argentina’s press and carry play forward. When action transitioned to the opposite end of the turf, coming at the defensive circle hard was Argentine Captain and attacker Luciana Aymar who hit a backhanded shot to secure Las Leonas first goal in the 8th minute. The longevity of the lead was brief. Capitalizing on their first corner of the match in the 11th minute, USA defender Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach, Va.) sent a straight shot to USA Captain Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa.) who redirected the ball into the net. Working passes around with fluidity, an Argentine player carried the ball to the baseline only to deliver it to teammate, Aymar, who took a shot from the circle’s sweet spot to create another goal in the 21st minute. The halftime report held USA 1, Argentina 2.
The second half held immense promise. Slick stick skills persisted as the game flow ebbed into the United States’ offensive end. The ball was worked around the perimeter but Argentina kept a fortified backend, letting the United States gain only a handful of corners. Neither squad was able to translate an opportunity into another goal. The match ended with a victory for Las Leonas over the USA, 1-2.
“We’re disappointed with today’s end result but are pleased with our tournament performance,” said Parnham. “We began to open up in the second half with a number of chances to score but Argentina defended well. We’re proud of the team and their progress at this event.”
During the post-game press conference, Argentina’s Head Coach Carlos Retegui acknowledged the toughness and strength of the U.S. Women’s National Team and commented on the noticeable change in USA’s playing style. Receiving worldwide remarks of praise for their progress at the Rabobank World Cup, Team USA adds this experience to the tremendous journey each U.S. athlete and staff member has committed to in order to bring a new era of hockey to the United States.
“Right now there’s disappointment but when we stop and look back on our 18-month build up and how we came into this tournament and what we produced, there’s a feeling a pride,” said Crandall. “Most of all, it affirms we’re going in the right direction. This is a sweet reward to come in fourth at the World Cup. It shows we’re making leeway.”
The World Cup started for Team USA with competition against England where the red, white and blue won 2-1. The team then went on to 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. South Africa was Team USA’s final competitor in pool play. The team was able to strike hard and fast with a final score of USA 4, South Africa 2. The USA made it to the semifinals for the first time in 20 years against opponent Australia but fell short in shootouts with a result of 1-3.
Follow Team USA on their official website usasfieldhockey.com and their Twitter account @USAFieldHockey.
The journey has just begun. #WeBelieve