COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – March 27, 2013 – Five collegiate athletes made their debut with Team USA in the opening match of the Four Nations tournament in Whangarei, New Zealand last night against No. 2 world ranked Argentina. While a 3-0 loss is not the same result the U.S. recorded against Argentina at the London Games last summer or at the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, the young squad had moments of fierce pressure and ball control and gained invaluable experience from playing one of the world’s best hockey teams. For five new members of Team USA, April 10 is a day where aspirations met reality. The memory of first stepping onto the pitch and representing the U.S. will be forever bookmarked even after Caitlin Van Sickle (Wilmington, Del.), Maxine Fluharty (Millsboro, Del.), Nikki Parsley (Milford, Del.), Amanda Fleischut (Doylestown, Pa.) and Emma Bozek (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) begin collecting a lengthy list of national team accolades in the coming years.
“Today was the the start of this tour and the start of a journey for many young players,” said head coach Craig Parnham. “To expose these young players to this level of competition is invaluable. Undoubtedly players will learn a lot from this game as well as this tournament. We look forward to a strong performance against Korea tomorrow.”
“I thought everyone today did a great job at stepping up in their respective roles,” said U.S. captain Lauren Crandall. “We have a younger team here as well as a newer system so it was important for us to find a rhythm and get everyone involved. We suffered a few breakdowns which we paid for as we expected playing against a top team like Argentina. It is important for us to continue to make strides each game in order to get desired results.”
Even with a young squad that features thirteen players with less than 10 career caps, the first half was evenly matched with opportunities for both sides. A field goal in the 16th minute by Argentina put the U.S. down by one at the end of the first half.
The U.S. conceded a quick goal early in the opening minute of the second half when an Argentinian player rebounded a penalty corner drag flick off of U.S. goalkeeper Jackie Kintzer’s pads and sent the ball into the net. Argentina felt comfortable with a 2-0 at the 36 minute mark. The third and final goal for Argentina came in the 56th minute from Macarena Rodriguez. The penalty corner goal was scored with a direct shot from the top of the circle.
The U.S. created several opportunities near the end of the match but unfortunately were unable to convert those opportunities into penalty corners or goals.
Team USA will face Korea on April 11 in the second match of the Four Nations Tournament at 5:30 p.m. local time (1:30 a.m. ET). Korea defeated the host nation New Zealand, 4-3, in their tournament opener last night. Hockey New Zealand will provide live coverage of the U.S. matches on April 13, 14, 20 and 21. For more information, visit usafieldhockey.com.