US finishes on top after pool playDUBLIN - In another dominant second half performance, the U.S. defeated hosts Ireland in front of a loud and animated Irish crowd. The U.S. bounced back from a 1-0 deficit at halftime to outdo Ireland 3-1 in the final match of the preliminary rounds at Champions Challenge 1 in Dublin. The victory puts the U.S. in top place in Pool B and facing Wales in the quarterfinals on October 4 at 8:00 a.m. ET.
"We had disappointing result early on, but we are starting to work our way into the tournament," said Head Coach Lee Bodimeade. "We have a new and young group and I am very happy with finishing first in our pool, but that is behind us and it is all about winning games from this point on."
A penalty corner goal scored in the first six minutes of play livened the host nation and gave Ireland ascendancy early on. Ireland maintained a one goal advantage at the end of the first half.
Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, Va) even the match at 1-1 in the 48th minute on a penalty corner. Seven minutes following, Lauren Pfeiffer (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) redirected a shot by Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.) Captain Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa) secured the victory for the U.S. in the 68th minute with security goal scored on a penalty corner.
"I think we have come a long way in just three matches," said U.S. goalkeeper Jackie Kinzter. "We have had to come back from behind in the last two games and have fought hard to get where we are. We are excited to keep playing and to continue to get better with every performance. "
Ireland must now face Belgium in the quarterfinals, the side that beat them 4-1 at the Olympic Qualification tournament to secure a spot at the 2012 Olympic Games. The final day of the preliminary rounds also saw South Africa dropping to last in their pool after playing Scotland to a scoreless draw. South Africa will face Australia, who finished first in Pool A, in the third quarterfinal match while Scotland will face India in the first quarterfinal match on October 4.
The U.S. is hoping to cruise past Wales, ranked No. 27 in the world to advance to the semi-finals on October 6.