The USA Field Hockey Women's Olympic Team fell to China, 3-0, today at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA.
The 2008 Olympic silver medal winners, China is the number two field hockey team in the world and provide a high level of international competition for the U.S. team as they prepare for the 2010 AtaHolding Women's World Cup Qualifier in March.
For much of the first half, the USA and China were evenly matched, as both teams had few scoring opportunities early.
"China came out early and strong," said team captain Carrie Lingo. "It was a pretty fair test in the beginning."
A turnover in the defensive backfield led to a quick shot on goal for Zhao Yudiao and China went up, 1-0 late in the first half. Lingo noted these test matches are as much for education and growth as for competition.
"It's good that [the turnover] happened now in the process, because it's something we can fix," said Lingo. "At this early stage, it's something we can nip in the bud now as we prepare for the Qualifier."
China scored again quickly at the beginning of the second half, as Song Qingling lifted a shot over American goalkeeper Amy Tran. Song added a second late in the contest to put China in a 3-0 final.
The American offensive line had opportunities to score in the second half, as the offense repeatedly pressured the Chinese defense. The penetrations into the shooting circle increased, but shots went wide and deflections went into open space.
"It's a game of inches," said Lingo. "We had a few shots today that were off by a few inches."
"We played well for periods of time, but China punished us for our errors," said Head Coach Lee Bodimeade. "That's why we have Holland and China here, to learn those lessons."
The overall performance by the Americans was strong, but the skill displayed was not necessarily evident in the final score.
"To play that well against this competition does give us a fair bit of excitement going forward," said Bodimeade, "but there is frustration in not being successful scoring."