Day two of competition at the Youth Olympic Games Qualifier in Uruguay for the Under-18 Women’s Squad proved to be exciting as Team USA improved to a record of 3-1. During its two matches, the U.S. outscored Mexico and Uruguay 14-1.
Team USA completed the first round of double round-robin competition with its first game of the day against Mexico. The U.S. squad got on the scoreboard in the 11th minute of the match when Margaux Paolino (Villanova, PA) delivered a great feed to Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, PA), who blasted a shot into to the back of the cage.
After a few minor adjustments, Team USA’s play picked up and they were able to net a second goal in the 17th minute of play thanks to the squad’s youngest member, Julianna Tornetta (Plymouth Meeting, PA). Madison Morano (Hammonton, NJ) carried the ball to the baseline for a pass off of the boards to J. Tornetta for the finish, making the score 2-0. Team USA’s Hoffman had a perfectly timed interception to propel the team on attack for their next goal with a dish to Sophia Tornetta (Plymouth Meeting, PA) who created a two versus goal keeper situation with Paolino who scored to go up 3-0. J. Tornetta returned the favor to Morano as she set her up for the fourth goal of the match for the U.S. to go into the second intermission up 4-0.
In the third period, Team USA was able to create several strong fast break opportunities that stretched Mexico’s defense. Austyn Cuneo (Waterford, NJ) scored her first goal of the match in the 26th minute of play off of a quick free hit by Hoffman. J. Tornetta netted her second of the match and Team USA’s 6th at the 29th minute mark. Cuneo restarted the play quickly and caught the Mexican team off guard as she fed the ball to an open S. Tornetta for the goal in the 30th minute. Two minutes later Sophia Miller (Medford, NJ) put one in herself to increase the lead to 8-0. In the last minute of play, Cuneo intercepted a ball, broke through the defense and took a shot that went just wide. S. Tornetta was on the post to score her second of the game to end the match 9-0 in favor of Team USA.
In its second game of the day, the U.S. faced Uruguay for the second time in the qualifier. The U.S. squad got on the board early as Skyler Fretz (Oley, PA) rocketed a shot from a long distance to take the lead 1-0. The lead was short lived as Uruguay took advantage of a defensive miscommunication and gained a strong scoring opportunity, only to fouled by Team USA, resulting in a “challenge call”. Uruguay scored on the ensuing opportunity much to the delight of the roaring crowd. The remainder of the 1st period was back and forth play, with Samantha Steele (Eagleville, PA) making impressive saves in the cage to keep the game even at one a-piece.
In the second period, Fretz intercepted an aerial meant for a Uruguayan attacker and passed it forward to Cuneo, who scored a diving goal in the 19th minute giving the U.S. the lead. Two minutes later, J. Tornetta built the play up the right side and sent a pass off of the back boards to the front of the goal, where Cuneo stripped a Uruguay player for her second tally of the evening. The U.S. finished the second period leading 3-1.
Composed passing combinations by Team USA led to several fast break opportunities, but no goals. In the 31st minute, the U.S. was rewarded with its effort by earning a “challenge”. Cuneo stepped up for it and earned her 3rd goal of the evening. Hoffman scored Team USA’s last goal of the game as she intercepted a ball in the U.S. defensive half of the field and went end-to-end for the goal. Team USA won the match 5-1.
Stay tuned to usafieldhockey.com for the latest news and results for Team USA at the Youth Olympic Games Qualifier.