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Undefeated Pool Play Opponents Finish Match tied as Quarterfinal Looms
The U.S. Women’s National Team Tie Germany 2-2
VALENCIA, Spain – June 14, 2015 – The U.S. Women’s National Field Hockey Team is keeping course as they carefully navigate through FIH Women’s Hockey World League Semifinal with the aim of reaching the all-important quarterfinals which contain potential 2016 Olympic Games selection. Team USA’s third match of the event against 6th FIH World Ranked Germany was another critical point on that roadmap. The final score report stood at a draw of USA 2, Germany 2.
A game of physicality and high skill was established between the two national teams under Spain’s summer humidity. Germany was the first to break through into their attack semicircle daring entry past the U.S. defenders’ fortified unit. The scoreboard remained unmarked with rapid action jetting from end line to end line. In the 11th minute, Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) hit a reverse sweep to locate Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.) at the stroke line to half-volley the ball past Germany’s keeper late in the first quarter, making the score USA 1, Germany 0.
Play grew overly aggressive as umpires warned athletes from the squads with the appropriate display of cards. Both teams each equally earned a green card and two yellow cards to tame unruly play. Germany and the USA remain unbeaten in pool play and the hint of loss brought forth high intensity from both sides.
Marked in the 39th minute, Germany’s Lisa Altenburg maneuvered to the left side of the circle to net an equalizer which was quickly echoed by another goal in the 40th minute from Hannah Kruger. Germany took the lead 2-1 but not the match momentum.
“We knew when it hit the fourth quarter that we had more in the tank and had more to give,” said USA goalkeeper Jackie Briggs (Robesonia, Pa.). “We knew we were going to make a push for it. We train to keep going. When we have a team under the pump we keep going. And when they think we’re done, we keep going.”
Reluctant to stay down, USA’s Jill Witmer (Lancaster, Pa.) cruised along the end line to find Alyssa Manley (Lititz, Pa.) who ripped a reverse hit high into the net. Germany contested the goal and under umpire’s review, the goal was erased. Germany continued their unwavering attack presence against USA’s defenders. Briggs endured rapid rebounded shots from close proximity to keep the match within reach. With pressure mounting as the match moved in the final passage, in the 48th minute Kelsey Kolojejchick (Larksville, Pa.) rounded the baseline to connect with a diving Katie Reinprecht for another world-class redirection into the goal. Germany had the final opportunity to settle the game with a corner as the clock ran down, but again Briggs was up to the task and made sure the USA came away with a tie. The final score concluded with USA 2, Germany 2.
“Germany is a great team and we knew it was going to be a fight,” said Briggs. “They gave us a run. Wish we could have come out with a win but pleased with the tie and our overall performance.”
Also during today’s match Witmer earned her 50th cap, an achievement for Team USA and the up and coming striker.
The first two matches of pool play gave way to a 2-0 victory over Uruguay as well as a 4-1 win to South Africa. Team USA continues on with FIH Hockey World League Semifinals Tuesday against Ireland at 9 a.m. EST. Follow @USAFieldHockey on Twitter for live Team USA match updates. A live broadcast of FIH Women’s Hockey World League Semifinals can be viewed by subscribing to Willow. #UN1TED