USA Field Hockey

U.S. SCORES FIRST BUT FALLS TO AUSTRALIA IN FINAL

DUBLIN - Despite scoring first to take an early lead, the U.S. fell to Australia 6-1 in the gold medal match of Champions Challenge 1 in Dublin, Ireland this afternoon. Along with claiming the Champions Challenge 1 title, Australia has earned themselves a place back in the Champions Trophy tournament next year. 

"I think overall Australia came out and played better than us," said U.S. veteran Jesse Gey. "Their skill level was higher and we were never able to adapt to the intensity that they brought. It is a disappointing result, but we made our goal of reaching the final and unfortunately just didn't come away with a win today. Congratulations to Australia for a well played game."

Rachel Dawson (Berlin, NJ) put the U.S. on the boards three minutes into the start of the match with a direct shot on a penalty corner. Unfortunately, Dawson's early goal was the only goal scored by the U.S. for the remainder of the match. 

Australia scored six consecutive goals to steal the gold medal from the U.S. The Aussies went from being down 1- nil to leading the match 3-1 at the end of the first half. Australia came out quick again in the second half, scoring in the 39th and 59th minute before sealing the victory with a final goal in the 68th minute. 

"A very disappointing result in the final, and it certainly highlighted where we are after the Olympics and how much work we have to do," said Head Coach Lee Bodimeade. "I thought Australia was very good and they seemed to be a lot slicker than what we encountered in London. I am very happy and proud of our group. To make it to the finals and not have so many athletes available for us, I think overall it is a tremendous effort to get to where we did." 

U.S. striker and 2012 Olympian Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.) was awarded with the Player of the Tournament. 

U.S. MEETS AUSTRALIA IN CC1 FINAL

DUBLIN - Lauren Pfeiffer (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) scored her fourth goal of the Champions Challenge 1 tournament with 16 minutes remaining in the match to lead the U.S. Women's Team to a 2-1 victory over hosts Ireland this afternoon. The win puts the U.S. facing Australia in the gold medal match tomorrow.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game against Ireland in front of a home crowd," said Head Coach Lee Bodimeade. "They are playing well and have certainly elevated their skill level from last year. It is very pleasing to advance to the finals with the young team we at this tournament."

Ireland took a one-goal lead early in the first half and maintained their lead heading into halftime despite five U.S. penalty corners and an abundance of scoring opportunities. 

Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.) opened the second half with a field goal in the 37th minute to even the match 1-1. O'Donnell slid into the goal post as she redirected a pass from Pfeiffer. 

The pressure and persistence paid off as the U.S. converted their tenth penalty corner into a goal. O'Donnell slipped the ball to Pfeiffer who finished with a well executed drag flick. 

The U.S. overcame their third deficit of the tournament to advance to the finals. Ireland will now fight Scotland for the bronze medal, while the U.S. will meet Australia for gold at 4:30 p.m. local time tomorrow. Australia is ranked No. 7 in the world and finished fifth at the 2012 Olympic Games. 

"I think we need to be the aggressor in the next match tomorrow against Australia," said Bodimeade. "They are the highest ranked team here and we have to be on our game." 

Team captain Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa.) is looking for some revenge as Australia narrowly beat the U.S. 1-0 during the preliminary rounds at the Olympic Games in London.

"It is great to have teams that we faced in the Olympics here now," said Crandall. "We will be looking for a little revenge tomorrow against Australia, but we are really just excited to be playing for our country in the final." 

The winner of Champions Challenge 1 will automatically qualify for Champions Trophy next year, which features the top ranked teams in the world. 

U.S. CONFIRMS PLACE IN SEMIFINALS SATURDAY

DUBLIN -The U.S. Women's National Team confirmed their place in the semi-finals of Champions Challenge 1 with a powerful performance and convincing win over Wales this morning. Torrie Albini (Escondido, Cali.), Lauren Pfeiffer (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) and Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, Va.) tallied two goals apiece en route to the 7-2 victory. The U.S. now awaits the result of the Belgium vs Ireland quarterfinal match to determine who they will face in the semis on Saturday. 

The U.S. took control of the match early and never looked back. Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa) put the U.S. on the boards first, ten minutes into the game with a field goal. Albini and Taylor recorded their first goal of the match in the 19th and 24th minute, respectively. Wales knocked one past U.S. goalkeeper Jackie Kintzer (Robesonia, Pa) on a penalty corner, but the U.S. held a comfortable two goal lead entering halftime. 

The U.S. offense exploded in the second half, scoring four consecutive goals to blast past Wales. Pfeiffer scored back-to-back goals in the 46th and 49th minute and Albini finished off the U.S. scoring streak with a field goal in the 57th minute. 

The U.S. is back in action on Saturday, October 6 against the winner of the upcoming Belgium vs Ireland match. The winner of Champions Challenge 1 will automatically qualify for Champions Trophy, which features the world’s top ranked teams.

U.S. FINISHES ON TOP AFTER POOL PLAY

DUBLIN - In another dominant second half performance, the U.S. defeated hosts Ireland in front of a loud and animated Irish crowd. The U.S. bounced back from a 1-0 deficit at halftime to outdo Ireland 3-1 in the final match of the preliminary rounds at Champions Challenge 1 in Dublin. The victory puts the U.S. in top place in Pool B and facing Wales in the quarterfinals on October 4 at 8:00 a.m. ET.

"We had disappointing result early on, but we are starting to work our way into the tournament," said Head Coach Lee Bodimeade. "We have a new and young group and I am very happy with finishing first in our pool, but that is behind us and it is all about winning games from this point on."

A penalty corner goal scored in the first six minutes of play livened the host nation and gave Ireland ascendancy early on. Ireland maintained a one goal advantage at the end of the first half. 

Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, Va) even the match at 1-1 in the 48th minute on a penalty corner. Seven minutes following, Lauren Pfeiffer (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) redirected a shot by Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.) Captain Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa) secured the victory for the U.S. in the 68th minute with security goal scored on a penalty corner.  

"I think we have come a long way in just three matches," said U.S. goalkeeper Jackie Kinzter. "We have had to come back from behind in the last two games and have fought hard to get where we are. We are excited to keep playing and to continue to get better with every performance. " 

Ireland must now face Belgium in the quarterfinals, the side that beat them 4-1 at the Olympic Qualification tournament to secure a spot at the 2012 Olympic Games. 
The final day of the preliminary rounds also saw South Africa dropping to last in their pool after playing Scotland to a scoreless draw. South Africa will face Australia, who finished first in Pool A, in the third quarterfinal match while Scotland will face India in the first quarterfinal match on October 4. 

The U.S. is hoping to cruise past Wales, ranked No. 27 in the world to advance to the semi-finals on October 6. 

O'DONNELL LIFTS U.S. TO 4-2 VICTORY OVER SOUTH AFRICA

DUBLIN - The U.S. Women's National Team had a 4-2 come from behind win over South Africa today at Champions Challenge 1 in Dublin, Ireland. A solid second half performance saw the U.S. come from a goal down to record the victory. It was a rematch of the 2012 Olympic Games, which South Africa upset the U.S. 7-0 in the final match of the preliminary rounds. The result puts the U.S. on the boards with three points, and drops South Africa to the bottom of the pool with zero points.  

"We had a disappointing result against South Africa in London and to come out here and exorcise those demons was great," said Head Coach Lee Bodimeade. "We're very happy with the elevation in our intensity. We knew we needed to get a result against South Africa to get ourselves back in the tournament and today's performance contributed to that."

Two goals for South Africa cancelled out Katie O'Donnell's (Blue Bell, Pa) opening goal scored in the 20th minute and South Africa entered halftime with a one goal advantage. 

But, the U.S. were determined in the second half and the deficit only added motivation. O'Donnell nabbed her second goal of the match with a touch from Katelyn Falgowski's (Landenburg, Pa) corner hit. Torrie Albini added a security goal when she thundered home a direct shot on a penalty corner. 

"We stepped on to the field and played today and played like we wanted to win," said Meghan Beamesderfer. "We wanted to give everyone a heads up on why we are here. We are here to compete and here to win. It was a really good game for us."

Beamesderfer earned her first career cap with the National Team yesterday against Scotland. 

"I can't even tell you how good it feels to step on this field and wear the USA jersey. Playing with these women is like a dream come true to me," said Beamesderfer.  

The U.S. will take on Ireland in front of their home crowd on Tuesday, October 2 at 1:30 a.m. MT for the final match in the preliminary rounds. Ireland has a victory over South Africa and a draw against Scotland. 

U.S. SUFFERS 1-0 LOSS TO SCOTLAND

DUBLIN - Scotland withstood a late barrage to kick off their Champions Challenge 1 campaign with an upset victory over the No. 11 world ranked U.S. team on opening day in Dublin, Ireland. 

"We knew it was going to be tough coming in today with the availability of players. We started slowly and it unfortunately cost us the game. Although we played very well in the second half and dominated, we couldn't get the equalizer we were looking for," said Head Coach Lee Bodimeade. 

U.S. goalkeeper Jackie Kintzer (Robesonia, Pa) dived to deny a rasping reverse stick shot, but Scotland's Sarah Robertson was on hand to pick up the rebound and score in the 16th minute of play. Robertson's goal was the lone goal of the match and proved to be enough for Scotland to clinch the win on opening day. 

"It was fun to take the field again," said Olympian Rachel Dawson. "It is the most healing thing ever to play and compete and get back on the field where we belong. The result was disappointing. We had a lot things to work through in the first with new players playing together, and even though we got it together in the second half, we were unable get any result."

Meghan Beamesderfer (Iowa City, IA), Meghan Dawson (Berlin, NJ), Stefanie Fee (Virginia Beach, VA) and Rayell Heistand (Hamburg, Pa) took the field for the first time with the U.S. Women's National Team, earning their first National Team career cap. 

"Being on the team for so long, it reminds you of where you come from and what these players have to strive for and how proud they are to earn their first cap," said Dawson. "Seeing that look of excitement and pride in their eyes when taking the field reminds you that this is awesome and this is really what it is all about." 

The U.S. is hoping for to start strong from the opening whistle against South Africa on Sunday, September 30 at 1:00 p.m. ET. 

"The intensity and discipline we need to play with cost us in the first half of today's game and that needs to be evident tomorrow against a top opponent like South Africa," said Bodimeade.

The match can be viewed live on www.aertv.ie. 

WATCH CC1 MATCHES LIVE FROM DUBLIN

DUBLIN - The U.S. Women's National Team departed for Dublin, Ireland yesterday for the Electric Ireland Champions Challenge 1 event that commences on Saturday. Fans interested in watching matches live from Dublin are in luck as all games will be streamed on the internet. 

The tournament runs through October 7 and features Australia, Belgium, India, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, USA and Wales. Fans interested in watching the round robin games on September 29, September 30 and October 2 can go to www.aertv.ie. It is not standard broadcast quality, but provides a live feed from three mounted cameras around the pitch.

The quarterfinals on October 4th, games can be viewed on www.fih.livesport.tv. This will be full broadcast quality in cooperation with the Perform group. The games on the FIH TV channel will include all quarterfinal, semi-final, placement and medal games.

For more information on Champions Challenge 1, visit the event homepage. 

FOUR NEWCOMERS TO MAKE NATIONAL TEAM DEBUT AT CHAMPIONS CHALLENGE

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Four newcomers will make their U.S. National Team debut this month at the Electric Ireland Women’s Champions Challenge 1 tournament in Dublin, Ireland, September 29-October 7. Stephanie Fee (Virginia Beach, VA) and Alesha Widdall (Whitney Point, NY) earned one of the highly coveted spots on the National Squad after a standout performance at the 2012 Women’s National Championship. Meghan Beamesderfer (Iowa City, IA) and Rayell Heistand (Hamburg, Pa) are part of the Development Squad and will look to earn their first career cap with the National Team while in Dublin.

The eight-team tournament is the first major International Hockey Federation event following the Olympic Games and features four teams that participated in London with South Africa, USA, Belgium and Australia.

Head Coach Lee Bodimeade has selected 8 of the 16 players that competed at the London Olympics to the Champions Challenge 1 Team.

“Unfortunately the timing of this tournament is inconvenient as it falls in the middle of the collegiate season,” said Bodimeade. “We will be missing some key, quality players, but we have a strong talent pool with players like Megan, Stephanie, Alesha and Rayell who will have the opportunity to step up and gain experience at the international level.”

The U.S. will face Scotland, South Africa and Ireland in the preliminary rounds. All eight teams will advance to a quarterfinal match on October 4, with the first place finishers taking on the last place finishers from the other groups and the second and third place teams playing in a similar cross-over. From there, the winners will move into the semi-finals and medal rounds, while the losers will play for placement.

The competition is high and Bodimeade says the tournament will be a challenge for the young team. 

“Australia is the highest ranked team at the tournament and will be a challenging opponent for us,” said Bodimeade. “We weren’t happy with our performances against South Africa and Belgium in London and will be looking to improve. Outside of those teams, Ireland will be playing on their home turf and Scotland has a victory over us in last year’s event. It will be a tough tournament for us.”

The winner of the Electric Ireland Champion’s Challenge 1 will automatically qualify for the next Women’s Champions Trophy, which features the world’s top ranked teams.