USA defeats Japan 4-2 in opening match

April 23, 2011, 8 p.m. (ET)
COLORADO SPRINGS, C.O. - USA defeated Japan, 4-2, this afternoon in the opening match of a five game series at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. USA Field Hockey raised a total of $11,316 following the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Japan in early March. Prior to the start todays match, a large check in the sum of the amount donated was presented to the Japan National Team. 
"Today was a good start to what will be a very competitive series with Japan," said Caroline Nichols. "We had a chance to implement a lot of what we have been working on in practice against a strong opponent. It is nice to see our work come to shape. I am really excited to see what further steps we take in this series. Today's win was a step in the right direction." 
USA got on the boards just six minutes into the first half when Rachel Dawson (Berlin, NJ) hit a straight shot past Japan's goalkeeper on a penalty corner. Strong ball movement led to USA's second goal, eleven minutes later with Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, NC) firing a shot to the back of the goal. USA went into the second half with a two goal lead over Japan. 
Japan capitalized on two penalty corners early in the second half, making the score tied 2-2. Gaining momentum off of the two goals that slipped past goalkeeper Jackie Kintzer (Robesonia, Pa), the match remained tied until the fifty-fourth minute. Crisp passing and quick play resulted in USA's third goal by Maren Ford (Lewes, DE). Four minutes later, Torrie Albini ( Escondido, CA) scored a fourth goal with a deflected pass into the net. USA's fitness and ability to quickly pass and play the ball with few mistakes lead to a 4-2 win over Japan in the first match of the series. 
"We're very happy to come away with a win against quality opposition," said Lee Bodimeade, Head Coach. "We've been targeting some key areas since our tour in Argentina and it was pleasing to see the effectiveness of those areas when we were able to apply them. We are looking forward to the challenges of the remaining four matches." 
The remaining matches will be played on April 24, 26, 27, and 29. All matches will be played at 2pm PDT at the Olympic Training Center located at 2800 Olympic Parkway, Chula Vista, CA. Admittance is free and open to the public. 

USA Roster: Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach, VA), Carrie Lingo (Rehoboth Beach, DE), Claire Laubach (Centreville, VA), Jackie Kintzer (Robesonia, PA), Katelyn Smither (Suffolk, VA), Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, PA), Kayla Bashore-Smedley (Shoemakersville, PA), Kelly Driscoll (West Chester, PA), Katie Evans (Newtown Square, PA) Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa), Lauren Pfeiffer (Mt. Laurel, NJ), Maren Ford (Lewes, DE), Melanie Brill (Oley, PA), Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, NC), Pam Spuehler (Sudbury, MA), Rachel Dawson (Berlin, NJ), Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, VA), Torrie Albini (Escondido, CA), Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, NY), Michelle Vittese (Woodbury, NJ), Brianna Davies (Annville, PA), Paige Selenski (Shavertown, PA)

Japan Roster: Rika Komazawa, Miyuki Nakagawa, Ai Murakami, Keiko Manabe, Chie Akutsu, Sakiyo Asano, Shiho Sakai, Yukari Yamamoto, Izuki Tanaka, Nagisa Hayashi, Sachimi Iwoa, Akiko Ota, Misato Katamine, Kana Nomura, Masako Sato, Aki Mitsuhasi, Shiho Otsuka, Nane Ozawa, Akane Shibata