Matson's Hat Trick Lifts U-21 USWNT in First College Scrimmage

Feb. 12, 2016, 11:22 p.m. (ET)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – February 12, 2016 – On a cool Friday night in Chapel Hill, N.C., the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team kicked off their training camp weekend with a college scrimmage against Wake Forest University. Preparing for the Junior Pan American Championship in March, the weekend will include practices and scrimmages against Duke University and the University of North Carolina.

Being played at Francis E. Henry Stadium., Team USA went into the game with a set game plan of focusing on funneling the ball down the outsides to patiently work the ball in from the parameter. This strategy worked gaining the team multiple penalty corners and opportunities on cage. With patience, the U-21 USWNT got on the scoreboard first in the 9th minute of play when a hard ball was sent into the center of the circle by Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.) that deflected off of Wake Forest’s goalkeeper. Quick to react to the rebound, Sophia Tornetta (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) sent the loose ball into the goal to put USA up 1-0.

Wake Forest pushed forward into the midfield in an attempt to pull apart Team USA’s defense but were unsuccessful. Wake Forest’s goalkeeper made a fantastic save in a one-on-one situation with Matson and effectively denied the shot. Matson would find the backboard on a deflection tip in the 12th minute making the score USA 2, Wake Forest 0.

Just 3 minutes later, Wake Forest converted on a fast break opportunity. They earned a penalty corner and Jule Grashoff sent a drag flick into the cage.

In the remaining minute of the first half, both teams scrambled toward midfield trying to regain possession until Matson took control and earned a penalty corner for Team USA. She then converted on the play off a rebound, tallying another goal. This trend continued as the U-21 USWNT earned another penalty corner with time expired just before the half. Again, Matson found the back of the cage off of a tip making the halftime score USA 4, Wake Forest 1.

The second half began in a gridlock as both teams battled to gain ownership of the ball. Team USA’s Julia Young (Yorktown, Va.) held the defensive end denying any possible threats forward from Wake Forest. This transitioned to several circle entries for the U-21 USWNT hoping to notch another on the scoreboard.

With 7 minutes remaining, Wake Forest worked hard and scored on a shot by Grashoff. Wake Forest’s defensive line held tough while successfully clearing the ball out when Team USA penetrated forward. Continuing the pressure and capitalizing on late repositioning, the U-21 USWNT continued to get off shots on cage but were unable to convert.

In the final 2 minutes, Team USA hit the backboard twice. Once off of a drag flick on a corner by Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, Pa.) and again on another corner on a deflection by Lauren Moyer (York, Pa.) that slipped past the goalkeeper with 38 seconds left in the game making the final score USA 6, Wake Forest 2.

The U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team will face Duke University on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. EST on the campus of University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Follow the U-21 USWNT’s journey as they prepare for the Junior Pan American Championship March 29 through April 10 in Trinidad & Tobago by following