SANTIAGO, Chile - December 4, 2016 - The U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team met England in the 7th/8th place match of the women’s Hockey Junior World Cup. Being familiar opponents, as both teams competed in a friendly test match prior to the JWC, England capitalized on their chances to defeat USA by a score margin of 3-1.
"We went into it wanting to play and show them what we are made of," said Carrie Hanks (Newsyunk, N.Y.). "England's a great team and they came out really strong and that is something we had to work through."
USA started the game quick putting high pressure on England. Many midfield intercepts led to instant attack for USA as they tried to work it their offensive end. A chance came in the 8th minute when Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.) got a backhand shot off that went over the goal. England took that chance and countered to the other end of the field. With quick ball movement, England worked it behind USA’s defense and Esme Burge placed the ball under USA’s goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas) to take a 1-0 lead.
Keeping the pressure high, USA earned their first penalty corner in the 16th minute. Though the chance went wide, USA kept attacking England’s defense. Another close chance came went Matson beat two defenders and one-time passed it to Gab Major (Royersford, Pa.) who was met by England’s goalkeeper. Major got a backhand shot off but the attempt went over the goal. Being persistence USA regained possession and earned another penalty corner. The initial drag was blocked by England but Laura Hurff (Newark, Del.) found the ball and fired a hard shot to the far post that Matson deflected in to tie the score at USA 1, ENG 1.
England immediately took the momentum to their attacking circle testing USA’s defense. Quick passing and a foul in the circle earned England its first penalty corner in the 24th minute. Hurff blocked the play and cleared it wide but England kept attacking as they looked for open lanes in USA’s defense. In the final two minutes, England earned three penalty corner chances. The first one saw multiple close range shots but Bing and defenders made the saves. The final two chances came with time expired and USA defended well to keep the score tied going into halftime.
With the score locked going into the second half, both teams knew they had to work hard. A chance came from USA, when quick passing by the forward line led to Julianna Tornetta (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) open with the ball but her shot went wide. England quickly countered the other way and although USA’s defense held strong, Lydia MacDonell got a shot off from the top right of the circle that found the corner of the goal to make it USA 1, ENG 2.
For a period of time possession went back-and-forth. A spark came for the USA in the 50th minute went Hurff out hustled an England player and drove the right baseline. She dumped it across the goalmouth past England’s goalkeeper but no USA player was there to finish. England took the ball the other way and earned a penalty corner in the 55th minute. Off the chance, a sweep was sent toward the goal that Charlotte Daly deflected into the net to give England a 3-1 edge.
Not letting up, USA’s quick passing showed promise but the final possession pass was missing. As time wound down, it was full force forward as USA continued to attack England’s defense looking to cut the lead. As the final horn sounded, the score stood at USA 1, ENG 3.
"We talked at halftime about possessing the ball and moving it up the field going forward to try and get in their circle," added Hanks. "We tried and had a lot of good combinations but we just couldn't get the ball in the goal."
USA finished the JWC tournament with two wins and four losses. In the first match, they defeated Zimbabwe 10-0. The fell to The Netherlands 5-1 in game two and finished pool play with a 3-2 win over Korea. They met Pan American foes Argentina in the quarterfinals and despite a tremendous effort, lost 2-1. In another close match-up, they were defeated by Belgium 2-1 before today's contest.
The U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team wants to thank all fans who followed their journey at the women’s Hockey Junior World Cup. For upcoming information on the U-21 USWNT, stay tuned to usafieldhockey.com. #SQUAD #HJWC2016 #RockTheJuniors
Video courtesy of PAHF