The U.S. Olympic Team for Women’s Field Hockey held a scrimmage against the Korean Olympic Team Thursday at the Olympic Sports Center Hockey Stadium. The sides fought to a 2-2 draw, with U.S. goals delivered by strikers Tiffany Snow and Dina Rizzo.
The USA scored first, with an early goal from the combination of Tiffany Snow and Kate “Tiki” Barber.
“We had some really nice movement across the midfield,” said Snow, a native of Escondido, CA. “Tiki received the ball outside of the circle, hit across the base of the goal, and I got the tip-in.”
Crisp passing by the USA brought the ball from midfield to the attacking front, where Lauren Powley connected with Dina Rizzo for the second goal.
“I got an excellent pass from the top of the circle from Jesse Gey,” said Powley, “and I heard Dina screaming, ‘Far post! Far post!” and after all those years of people screaming at me to go far post – I finally executed it.”
“Powley hit it far post and I was just there to tip it in,” added Rizzo. Rizzo and Powley both attended the University of Maryland.
The Korean side responded with two goals of their own to knot the contest, including a field goal in the first half. In the second half, a penalty corner shot by Korea was blocked by goalkeeper Amy Tran, but Korea collected the rebound and scored goal number two.
The team was relieved to finally compete against another team rather than scrimmage amongst themselves.
“It feels amazing,” said Powley. “It’s our last tune up before we get out there and finally play.”
“It’s awesome to be out on the field competing in this environment,” said Snow, adding, “especially after the last time we played Korea.”
In their final international preparation before the Olympics, the U.S. Olympic Team for Women’s Field Hockey set out on a European tour last month to face some the world’s most formidable teams. Their contest against Korea resulted in a 5-3 defeat, so Thursday’s draw was seen as positive progress for the Americans.
“Definitely,” said Powley. “They’re one of the top teams [in the world], and that’s where we want to be. We know we can play with them. It’s definitely a good confidence booster.”
“We’re very, very happy with our performance,” said Head Coach Lee Bodimeade. “We’ve trained really well for the first three days since [arriving in Beijing], and that helped our performance against a very good Korean side.”
Bodimeade did not think there was much difference between the team the USA faced in July and the one Wednesday night.
“They looked extremely similar,” said Bodimeade. “Korea played with a similar intensity. Our side was a bit different. We’ve brought our game up to where we’re a lot happier now.”
The team has two remaining training sessions before competition begins.
“At this point in time, we’re very solid,” said Bodimeade. “The finishing touches over the next two training runs should put us right where we need to be.”
The U.S. Olympic Team for Women’s Field Hockey practices tomorrow from 9:30am to 10:00 am at the Olympic Sports Center Hockey Stadium, and daily through the start of Olympic Games competition. Players and coaches will be available for interview following practice.
The U.S. Olympic Team opens Olympic Games competition on Sunday, August 10 against 2007 Pan American champions Argentina. The United States is slotted in Pool B with Argentina, Germany, Great Britain, Japan and New Zealand.
Korea is slotted for competition in Group A. Korea qualified for the Olympics in the same fashion as the United States: with a championship in one of three WorldHockey Qualifying Tournaments. Korea outscored the pool 29-1 en route to victory in Victoria, Canada.
For media and interview requests in Beijing, contact Jeff Gamza at 13910824442.
For more information about the U.S. Olympic Team for Field Hockey, visit fieldhockey.teamusa.org.
For more information on USA Field Hockey, visit www.usafieldhockey.com .