US Womens National Team Light Up the World Cup Stadium During First Event Match
U.S. Women’s National Team Light Up the World Cup Stadium During First Event Match
Team USA upsets England during opening match of pool play
THE HAGUE, Netherlands – June 1, 2014 – With 76 matches, 24 teams and 15 countries represented at the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup, this is the pinnacle event of the world hockey calendar. The U.S. Women’s National Team met their first competitors of the tournament, England, World Ranked Number 3, with a frenzy of elite athleticism that kept those in the stands fixated on the pitch. Team USA came out of the gates strong and left Kyocera Stadium victorious 2-1.
Decked all in red, Team USA bolted off of the midfield line full tilt for what was to be a sheer brilliant performance. The red, white and blue’s speed was showcased within minutes when an early corner was secured in the 3rd minute of play. Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach, Va.) struck a sharp shot to the bottom left corner where Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.) was perfectly positioned to tip the ball into the cage. From there a tone was set and carried through the entire match. England maneuvered the ball around USA’s defensive end in hopes of being able to crack into the circle with several unsuccessful attempts in the first half to the credit of the United States’ defensive unit. USA keeper Jackie Kintzer (Robesonia, Pa.) dominated the cage with diving saves and spectacularly quick reactions to keep England goalless for the first portion of the match. The USA capitalized quickly on a second corner in the 15th minute when Kelsey Kolojejchick (Larksville, Pa.) deflected a ball from Nicholas from the top of the circle to sail over the England keeper’s reach. The halftime report held 2-0.
“We started off in a good position,” said U.S. Women’s Head Coach Craig Parnham. “At times during the match it’s about being able to ride the storm and in the second half especially our defense did just that. Our team played a great game of hockey today.”
When the squads rejoined the pitch for the second half, the intensity didn’t dip. England was able to cut USA’s lead in half when in the 56th mark England athlete Kate Richardson-Walsh hit a ball to streamline it into the goal cage. A match of strategy and wit ensued as each pass and cut counted with the minutes dwindling down. The game closed 2-1 with USA clenching their first World Cup win of pool play.
Today was not only special for Selenski because of her goal but she also kicked off the tournament by tallying her 100th cap with the U.S. Women’s National Team.
“Our focus going into this match was ourselves and being able to run the field and connect with one another,” said USA Captain and defender Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa.). “Our focus now becomes the next game against Argentina. We need to make tweaks off of lessons we learned from today. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Team USA holds ground in Pool B along with Argentina (World Ranked 2), England (World Ranked 3), Germany (World Ranked 6), China (World Ranked 7) and South Africa (World Ranked 11). After bringing home gold and glory already this month from the 2014 Champions Challenge in Scotland, the USA comes to Holland with confidence and determination.
When asked what Parnham has done with the USA Field Hockey program to continue to grow the athletes since his commencement with Team USA, he replied, “It’s just hard work and consistent training. There’s no mystery to what we’re doing. We have a fantastic team with great spirit and energy. We’re far from a finished article, this is a journey we’re on and as a team we’re looking forward to what’s to come.”
The Stars and Stripes will next appear on the pitch Tuesday, June 3 at 11:30 a.m. EST when they look to tackle Argentina. All matches can be viewed live by clicking here or watching ESPN3.
Chase the Cup with U.S. by following @USAFieldHockey on Twitter and checking the team’s official website usafieldhockey.com
About USA Field Hockey
USA Field Hockey is the national governing body for the sport of field hockey in the United States and is based in Colorado Springs, Colo. USA Field Hockey is committed to providing opportunities for our 23,000 members to participate, develop and excel as players, coaches, umpires and administrators.. The U.S. Men's and Women's National Teams strive for competitive excellence in Olympic, Pan American Games, World Cup and other International competitions. USA Field Hockey is a proud member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Hockey Federation. For more information, visit usafieldhockey.com.