Womens U18 Squad Provides Promise for Future

Feb. 18, 2014, 5:25 p.m. (ET)

The U.S. Women’s Under-18 Squad wrapped up play at the Youth Olympic Games Qualifier in Montevideo, Uruguay. After several days of intense competition, the U.S. ended in third place, just short of automatic qualification for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

Team USA took on Uruguay for the third time of the tournament on Saturday. Taking advantage of a slow U.S. start, Uruguay struck in the 7th and 11th minutes of play. Down by two goals after the first period, Team USA had trouble penetrating the Uruguay defense. With eight minutes left in the match, Uruguay increased its lead to 3-0.

In the 31st minute, Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, PA) took a quick free hit to Austyn Cuneo (Waterford, NJ) who hammered the ball past a sliding Uruguay keeper to get the U.S. on the scoreboard. Despite a strong third period Team USA could not make the match any closer and fell 1-3.

Coming off of a very tough loss, the U.S. showed great resiliency as they bounced back for their final game of the tournament to beat Mexico. The U.S. started off strong as team captain Hoffman received a great pass from Madison Morano (Hammonton, NJ) and nailed it past the Mexico keeper. Cuneo put in Team USA’s second goal of the match at the 7 minute mark. In the 10th minute, Morano and Hoffman combined to strike again with another strong pass by Morano for Hoffman to finish. A minute later, Hoffman got her 3rd goal of the game to take the U.S. to a 4-0 advantage.

During the second period, Team USA generated impressive passing combinations, but the Mexico keeper made strong saves to keep the U.S. at bay.

In the third period, the U.S. continued the onslaught of shots and netted several more goals. Morano sent the ball over to Margaux  Paolino (Villanova, PA) on the left side, Paolino got the keeper to bite and sent it high and over the keeper for Team USA’s 5th goal. Sophia Tornetta (Plymouth Meeting, PA) took the ball up the right side and sent it back to Hoffman. Hoffman sent it to the left to a wide open Cuneo who one-timed it into the net in the 28th minute, putting the U.S. up 6-0. Cuneo got her hat trick one minute later when S. Tornetta and Skyler Fretz (Oley, PA) created a great opportunity for her to finish in the 29th minute of play. Fretz tallied one of her own as she blasted one in from a few feet past the halfway line.

In the 35th minute of play, Mexico was awarded a “challenge” when the U.S. had a defensive breakdown and fouled the Mexico attack player. Mexico took full advantage of the opportunity and scored to make it 8-1. Team USA struck one last time as Morano batted the ball down from mid-air and passed to Julianna Tornetta (Plymouth Meeting, PA) for the last Team USA goal of the tournament.

Team USA’s Cuneo was named “Top Scorer” of the tournament with 17 Goals (2 Challenges and 15 FP) and J. Tornetta earned “Young Player of the Tournament”.