CHULA VISTA, CA – A sticky hot Thursday afternoon in Southern California would provide the atmosphere for two close and heated matches. The first would include the victors from Day 1, Ventura County and the East Coast.
Ventura County jumped out to a red hot start, which resulted in a penalty corner in the first 30 seconds. But as usual, solid play by East Coast keeper Brandon Karess denied any advantage. The Red Devils continued to fire shots, but Karess remained strong between the pipes. The East Coast Juniors finally gained composure in the midfield and battled back to even the play. They almost took the lead in the 14th minute with a great opportunity from Rishi Baldewpersad Tewarie, but his shot went wide. The flow continued back and forth, both teams playing at a much higher pace than seen yesterday.
After a scoreless 30 minutes, Ventura County broke onto the board with a goal from Paul Singh. The initial shot from Doug Allison was rejected by Karess, but Singh was there to put the Red Devils up 1-0. East Coast answered with multiple penalty corners in the last minute of the period, but would have to wait until the second half for the chance at an equalizer.
As both teams returned to the pitch, the Red Devils wasted little time getting back to business. After drawing a penalty corner in the 42nd minute, Jonathan Orozco sent a picturesque drag to low left corner for the 2-0 lead.
In the 51st minute, a green card left Ventura playing a man down and seemed to spark the East Coast squad. Austin Groeneveld and Jaja Kentwell both had solid chances, but it was not until the 58th minute when Rishi Baldewpersad Tewarie intercepted a pass at the top of circle and sent a backhand bullet past the Red Devil keeper to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The Red Devils killed that momentum in the 62nd minute with a 1 v 1 goal from Paul Singh. As the minutes ticked away, East Coast was unable to close the gap and Ventura County took the first match of the day, 3-1.
The second game of the day featured the San Francisco Gold and the San Diego Surfers. Both teams were looking for their first victory of the tournament and it was evident in the aggressive play from the start. The Gold seemed to have an advantage to begin, but it would be San Diego to notch the first tally. After gathering the rebound off Christian Linney’s shot, striker Aaron McCarthy put the Surfers up 1-0 with a strong sweep in the 10th minute. San Francisco would respond less than a minute later by means of a penalty corner goal from Amarpret Sidhu.
Multiple opportunities for both squads would follow, but San Francisco capitalized again in the 25th minute with a reverse chip goal from Casey Walker. Moments later, his teammate Jarspeet Gill would score to make it 3-1. San Diego was finally able to create a cohesive attack in the 32nd minute and a reverse stick rocket from Christian Linney making it 3-2 at halftime.
The quick back and forth play continued second half, only adding to the fatigue already made present by the heat. For the initial 13 minutes of the period, both teams traded shots, but none transferred to the scoreboard. It was not until a penalty corner in the 57th minute for San Francisco to break the sequence. Ajaypal Singh sent a reverse stick hit past the San Diego goalkeeper to extend the lead. San Francisco would take the match with a final score of 4-2.
Ventura’s Michael Barminski and San Francisco’s Ajaypal Singh were named the “Men of the Match” for their exceptional performances.
No games will take place tomorrow, as it is a rest day. Tournament play continues Saturday at 9:00 AM (PT). All games offer free admission and are played at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. A full tournament schedule can be seen below. For additional information, please visit www.usafieldhockey.com or check out www.twitter.com/usafieldhockey!
Friday, July 8th
Saturday, July 9th
Sunday, July 10th