Team USA Cements Historical Achievement and Heads to Globally Sought World Cup Bronze Round
Team USA Cements Historical Achievement and Heads to Globally-Sought World Cup Bronze Round
The U.S. Women’s National Team falls 1-3 in shootouts to Australia
THE HAGUE, Netherlands – June 12, 2014 – The 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup semifinal match between the U.S. Women’s National Team and Australia came down to mere minutes and inches to keep spectators' hearts pounding until utterly the last moment of play. In monumental fashion, the United States took their positions on the pitch to make their first appearance in 20 years on the World Cup semifinals stage. With a relentless spirit, Team USA tied in regulation play but fell short in shootouts against Australia in Kyocera Stadium. The game concluded with the Hockeyroos winning shootouts 1-3 over the USA.
“I’m incredibly proud of the group,” said Head Coach Craig Parnham. “Australia is a world-class team, possessing lots of strengths. Our group played a terrific 70 minutes of hockey. Our focus now transitions to the bronze medal round.”
Both teams settled into the first 35 minutes by trying to develop a fluid game rhythm. Spells of aggressive attack bantered from both ends of the pitch. The red, white and blue’s defensive end was able to withstand the swarming Australian forward line. As play shifted, United States strikers Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.) and Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.) as well as midfielder Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) sent quick sessions of rapid fire, rebounded shots to cage looking to break onto the board. The score swayed in the opposition's favor in 33rd minute when Australian forward Kellie White took the ball with speed to the top right of the attacking D to send a smooth drive to goal. The halftime report displayed a close match of USA 0, Australia 1.
The United States was far from a finished script as they looked to write a new score by plowing into their offensive end with might. In the 48th minute it paid off big when Kelsey Kolojejchick (Larksville, Pa.) shot the ball from the sweet spot of the circle to hit the net. The equalizer held until the 52nd minute when Australia’s Anna Flanagan scored off of a penalty corner. The match raced on as those in the stadium shifted their eyes between the pitch and the game clock’s dwindling minutes. With an enormous amount of fight and heart, Team USA tapped into their unyielding energy to keep the game alive. In the 68th marker Kolojejchick capitalized yet again in front of the goal cage to lock a score of 2-2 and push the match into shootouts.
“This game defines us,” said USA Captain and defender Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa.). “We’re relentless. We do our homework. We play our game. We’ve learned that the strengths we possess will take us to where we want to go. We energize one another. We scored a goal with two minutes and 16 seconds on the clock to tie the game. That’s who we are.”
Edge-of-the-seat shootouts commenced with O’Donnell taking the first opportunity and Selenski with the second position. Despite two solid runs to the net, neither were able to create goals while Australia missed their first shootout but made their second. Australia held an edge over the USA until Kolojejchick dodged the keeper to send a crisp drive into the cage. Next up for the USA was striker Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, N.C.) who bolted off of the line with stealth but the buzzer rang without a result. Australia won their final two shootout opportunities to clinch a position in the finals.
“We’re on a journey,” said Parnham. “We’re looking at the long term and there is more to come from us.”
The World Cup started for Team USA with competition against England where the red, white and blue won 2-1. The team then went on to tie Argentina 2-2. China proved to be another hard-fought battle, but the United States prevailed 5-0. Next, the United States beat Germany 4-1. South Africa was Team USA’s final competitor in pool play. The team was able to strike hard and fast with a final score of USA 4, South Africa 2. The USA will contend next against Argentina on Saturday, June 14 at 6:30 a.m. EST.
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.