JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – July 14, 2017 – Heading into their third match of the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals, the U.S. Women’s National Team and FIH Hero World Ranked No. 3 Argentina had identical results in Pool B. Same number of wins, goals for and goals against but the battle would fall in favor of Argentina who tallied two penalty corner goals and two field goals to earn a 4-0 win.
“It is never fun to have a result like that,” said Katelyn Ginolif (Lewes, Del.). “Argentina is an experienced team, they came out hard against us and I think it is a great learning point.”
The battle of the Pan American teams started quick. Argentina’s smart skills and quick possession worked the ball behind USA’s defense. In the 2nd minute of play, Argentina found space and got a hard shot on goal but USA goalkeeper Jackie Briggs (Robesonia, Pa.) was there to make the save. Moments later a threat came when Argentina ripped a backhand shot and again, Briggs was there to make the block. USA continued to sustain Argentina’s pressure to finish out the quarter.
For majority of the second quarter possession was shared between the 25 yard lines as both teams stepped up and locked down their attacking circles. In the 26th minute, after a green card was given to USA’s Ali Froede (Burk, Va.), Argentina worked the ball in behind and found themselves in a 1v1 situation with Briggs, who came up with the save. Persistence paid off as Argentina grabbed their first penalty corner of the game a minute later and Lucina von der Heyde successfully converted off a deflection to make it USA 0, Argentina 1 at halftime.
Three minutes into the third quarter, Argentina added two more goals to extend their lead. The first came after elimination skills on the left baseline led to a clinical sliding goal by Martina Cavallero. The second came off a penalty corner, when the initial shot was blocked but Argentina came up with the recovery and possession fell to inserter Agustina Habif who slotted it past Briggs to make it USA 0, Argentina 3.
USA continued to work hard looking for a result as they grabbed their first penalty corner in the 38th minute. Unsuccessful off the penalty corner, a close chance came moments later when Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.) ran the left baseline and sent a backhand cross through that went untouched. Another when Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) received the ball in a midfield pocket found a leading Nicole Woods (Beverly, Mass.) up field. The last few minutes of the quarter showed promise but the score line didn’t change.
Carrying the same high pressure and eagerness to score into the final quarter, USA started to gather more circle penetrations. Although USA showed potential, Argentina’s composure and quickness would deem too much. In the 56th minute, Argentina would seal the score when Julieta Jankunas took advantage of a loss of USA possession at the top of the circle, beat a defender and knock one in to make the final score USA 0, Argentina 4.
“It’s not the end of the tournament, it’s disappointing but it’s not the one that counts,” added Ginolfi. “There’s a lot for us to grow from. Take their pace and hopefully apply it to the next game.”
Team USA currently sits in the second position in Pool B leading into the final preliminary round matches. The U.S. Women’s National Team will return to the pitch on Sunday, July 16, 2017 at 10 a.m. EST when they play host nation South Africa. For more information on the event including schedule, results and live stream, visit the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals event page on usafieldhockey.com. All USWNT games can be watched on the live broadcast provided by ESPN3/Watch EPSN.