USA Falls to Germany, 4-2

Aug. 14, 2008, 2:18 a.m. (ET)

The U.S. Olympic Team for Women’s Field Hockey fell to defending champions Germany, 4-2, at the Olympic Green Hockey Stadium on Thursday. Tiffany Snow scored first for the USA, but Germany rattled off three goals to assume the lead. A late goal from Angie Loy looked to swing momentum back to the USA, but Germany’s fourth goal four minutes later sealed the victory.

The result leaves the USA with two draws and one loss in three matches, and a total of two standings points with the remainder of Pool B to play later tonight. The USA is guaranteed at least three more games: two pool play games against New Zealand and Great Britain, and one crossover match to determine final standings.

Germany is undefeated in three games and has a strong hold on the Pool B lead, with a trip to the medal rounds in sight. The top two teams in each pool continue to semifinals and final medal rounds.

Concerned about the slow starts in the previous two games, the USA pressured Germany early, spending time on the German side of the pitch. The USA retained much of the possession, but German tackles disrupted the advancement.  

Germany stepped up to match the American’s intensity. In the 20th minute, a German attack caused a frenzy at the goal line, highlighted by defender Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa. / Wake Forest) batting a point-blank German shot out of the air. Five shots on goal by Germany follow in the first half.

In the 27th minute, a streaking Angie Loy (Loysville, Pa. / Old Dominion) carried the ball into the scoring zone. A German defender gained control, but a clearing shot hit a lunging Keli Smith (Selinsgrove, Pa. / Maryland), coming from the opposite direction. The ball bounced into the clear for Snow (Escondido, Ca. / Old Dominion), who chipped the ball into the goal.

“We came out strong in the first half, and we were pretty pleased with that,” said team captain Kate Barber (West Chester, Pa. / North Carolina).

“We basically made the decision when we came out of the locker room to play from the word go,” said Snow.

Germany, who is a team having their own issues with slow starts, responded seven minutes later. German forward Natascha Keller received a pass and ran free down the sideline, eluding the American defense. With a back-stick shot into the corner of the goal, Keller tied the game, 1-1.

“We were behind, and that [USA] goal was a good moment to start the game for real,” said Keller. Keller was denied by goalkeeper Amy Tran (Grantville, Pa. / North Caroline) on a similar pay earlier in the period.

“We didn’t play well in the first half,” said German head coach Michael Behrmann. “The United States is a very strong team, and they played some good defense.”

With the momentum of the first half goal behind them, German opened the second half with increased concentration, forcing intercepted passes and mishandled balls.

Germany took the lead with a goal from striker Fanny Rinne in the 49th minute. Rinne launched a blast that Amy Tran tracked with a diving save, but the ball slipped underneath her by mere inches. Team captain Marion Rodewald added a third goal.

The USA looked poised to jump back into contention with Angie Loy’s penalty corner goal in the 60th minute. The penalty corner strike hit the German goalkeeper Kristina Reynolds and as German defenders swarmed the loose ball, one cleared it directly into the path of Angie Loy.

“It was great to score,” said Loy. “The ball was cleared to me and I was just in the right spot at the right time.”

The rally by the Americans was cut short as Germany added a fourth goal in 64th minute from striker Anke Kuehn on a penalty corner.

“We’re disappointed with the result, obviously,” said USA head coach Lee Bodimeade. “We have great respect for the German side as they are one of the best sides in the world. We were happy with the way it started, to go one up. We wanted to push.”

“As a team we’re disappointed with the result,” said Barber. “We’ve got to regroup and learn from this.”

The USA has faced three of the top six teams in the world in its first three games of competition. Germany is ranked number three in the world. The USA is ranked number eleven.

“It’s been a tough first three games for, but the rest of the tournament is still in front of us,” said Bodimeade.  “We’ll take a lot from these games and take what we learn into the final two. “

The U.S. Olympic Team for Women’s Field Hockey faces New Zealand on Saturday, August 16. The United States is slotted in Pool B with Argentina, Germany, Great Britain, Japan and New Zealand.     

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