USA suffers first loss at Champions Challenge I

June 18, 2011, 9:51 a.m. (ET)

DUBLIN, IRELAND – There’s an old saying “You don’t go to Ireland for the weather.” A typical Irish summer can be summed up in one word: Wet. That was no different today, on opening day of Champions Challenge I at the National Hockey Stadium on the campus of University College Dublin.

Despite greatly out-chancing Japan late in the second half, USA was unable come away with a win. Suffering their first loss, 2-1, captain Lauren Crandall is optimistic for the two upcoming matches that remain in pool play.  

“For the most part, we did some things well today and unfortunately paid for our mistakes,” said Crandall. “Every opponent we come up against brings a challenge and tomorrow will be about us playing our type of hockey and continuing to set the tone for the tournament.”

Japan was fierce and aggressive in the opening minutes, showing no signs of jetlag despite the eight hour time difference between the two countries. Earning a penalty corner in the first sixty seconds, Japan took full advantage with a perfectly executed drag flick that went to the high right side of keeper Jackie Kintzer (Robesonia, Pa).

“Japan is #9 in the world and the highest ranked team here,” said Lee Bodimeade, USA Head Coach. Having recently played them in San Diego, CA, we got what we thought we’d get from a top ranked team.”

Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa) tied the match 1-1 not long after Japan’s early lead. Katelyn Falgowski entered the circle and detonated a shot on goal. O’Donnell was ready and waiting at the right post to deflect it in.

The first corner opportunity came late in the half for USA. Torrie Albini (Escondido, CA) blasted a powerful shot just wide of the cage. O’Donnell had a similar scoring opportunity, but again, the ball went wide. The score remained tied, 1-1, at the half.

Japan’s intensity continued in the second half, but USA’s defense prevailed, preventing Japan from taking the lead on two back-to-back corners.

Japan’s second goal was unlucky for USA. With some confusion on the field and USA expecting the whistle to be blown to their advantage, a deflection sent the ball into midair and over Kintzer’s head. Japan took the lead 2-1.  

USA pushed ferociously in the final fifteen minutes, doubling the number of penalty corner advantages over Japan, but the equalizer did not come.

“We were unfortunate not to capitalize with a goal in that final fifteen minute period,” said Crandall. “We could have come away with a win, but we missed opportunities and didn’t capitalize.”

USA is looking for a better outcome tomorrow against Scotland at 10:30am. Oh, and the weather forecast: Rain.

Following the match against USA and Japan, Scotland and South Africa took the field. Scotland held a two goal advantage at the half over a scoreless South African Team. However, South Africa was able to hold Scotland scoreless and add two goals themselves in the second. The match ended in a draw, 2-2.

“Scotland’s performance today showed they are a strong competitor and we need to have our best performance tomorrow to get the desired result,” said Bodimeade.

Matches are broadcasted live on Click here for a direct link. Receive live updates via texts or emails by following @USAFieldHockey.

The remaining schedule is as follows:

  • USA vs Scotland, Sunday, June 19 @ 10:30am (5:30am)
  • USA vs South Africa, Tuesday, June 21 @ 1:30pm (1:30pm)
  • Quarterfinals, Thursday, June 23
  • Semifinals, Saturday, June 25
  • Finals, Sunday, June 26

USA Roster: Torrie Albini (Escondido, CA), Kayla Bashore (Shoemakersville, PA), Michelle Cesan (New Vernon, NJ) Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, PA), Rachel Dawson (Berlin, NJ), Katelyn Falgowski (Ladenberg, PA), Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, NY), Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, NC), Jaclyn Kintzer (Robesonia, PA), Claire Laubach (San Diego, CA), Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach, VA), Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, PA), Julia Reinprecht (Perkasie, PA), Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, PA), Paige Selenski (Shavertown, PA), Amy Swensen (Norfolk, VA), Shannon Taylor (La Mesa, CA), Michelle Vittese (Woodbury, NJ)