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U-21 USWNT Split First Two Test Matches

Jan. 08, 2016, 3:47 p.m. (ET)

LANCASTER, Pa. - January 8, 2016 - The U.S. U-21 Women's National Team split their first two games in the five-match test series against Great Britain's U-21 squad held at the Home of Hockey at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster County, Pa.

The first game of the series began fast as both teams pressed and passed at a high tempo. The U.S. U-21 Women's National Team managed to outlet the ball in some tight situations and created some quality opportunities in the attacking end. 

Great Britain's first goal came in the 23rd minute on a turnover from Team USA's defense. Great Britain's Meg Crowson converted on the opportunity off a strong backhand shot to put them up 1-0. Team USA fought back and created a lot of chances inside the penalty circle. Just before halftime, Catherine Caro (Martinsville, N.J.) made key eliminations on the right sideline before crossing the ball to Sophia Tornetta (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) who cut in front of her defender to tip in the equalizer.

Team USA came out strong in the second half with fluid ball movement through the backfield and midfield. USA's forward line found a lot of chances in front of the goal but were unable to capitalize on the opportunities. Midfield battles continued between Great Britain and Team USA players with strong tackles and exciting passing patterns. Great Britain put a chance away in the 66th minute on a shot from the top of the circle from Crowson. In the waning minutes of the game, the U-21 USWNT kept up the pressure and secured a penalty corner and more chances on turnovers but were unable to finish those opportunities resulting in a 2-1 loss for Team USA.

All in all, game one was a good first step for the U.S. U-21 Women's National Team. All though disappointed with the result, Team USA felt good about individual performances and are working on tweaking the big picture items.

Heading into the second match eager to make a stamp, the U.S. U-21 Women's National Team started fast and furious applying a full press off of the initial back pass. The first ten minutes were marked by midfield battles, strong tackles and quick play by both teams. The tenacity of Team USA paid off as in the 11th minute Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.) managed to find herself breaking through at the top of the circle where she converted on a clever quick shot on goal.

Though Team USA held a 1-0 lead, Great Britain did not slow down creating several strong chances on breakaways. Still pressuring, Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) notched the U-21 USWNT's second goal off a sharp feed from Caro across the circle. Vittese received the pass, eliminated a defender and scored to the near post to put Team USA up 2-0.

The second half highlighted good skill from Team USA's midfield and forward lines as the quality of the ball movement in the backfield helped propel the level of play. Taking advantage of ball possession, the U-21 USWNT worked hard to earn penalty corners and on the second one of the half Anna Bottino (Clifton Park, N.Y.) scored off a tip from the right hand side of the goal. The scoring trend continued just one minute later as Caro gained control of a Great Britain aerial that she flipped to Matson who pulled right and scored making the final score USA 4 - Great Britain 0.

Very happy with the second performance, the U.S. U-21 Women's National Team and coaching staff will have a rest day today before play resumes on Saturday, January 9 at 2:30 p.m. EST. Admission to all games is FREE but Spooky Nook Sports will be charging a $5 parking fee at both Saturday and Sunday games.