TERASSA, Spain - August 1, 2018 - Day 5 of the EXIN Masters World Cup concluded with six USA squads in action. The men's teams won each of their respective matches, while the women's squads combined for two wins and two losses as the O-50 side advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in the tournament's history.
O-45 Men's 2 vs. New Zealand 1
The U.S. O-45 Men's Masters Team delivered a strong statement with their win over highly ranked New Zealand to complete their last pool game of the EXIN Masters World Cup. The team started strong with solid defense and good ball handling in the midfield. A swift counter attack gave Randy Christie (Bronx, N.Y.) the opportunity to dribble past a defender and the New Zealand goalkeeper to score the first goal of the game. During the second quarter ,USA kept momentum in their favor and gave New Zealand very little chances. A quick play near the 25 yard line led to a penalty stroke opportunity, which was successfully converted by Alvaro Salcedo (Baltimore, Md.) to give USA the 2-0 advantage.
The second half of the game saw a relentless attack from New Zealand which eventually led to a penalty stroke in their favor to make it 2-1. However, solid defensive work from Andre Ferguson (Attlebro, Mass.) and Barry Merriman (Washington, D.C.) fended off all attempts of the opposition through the remainder of the game to give the U.S. O-45 Men's Masters Team their first win of pool play. At the end of the match, Merriman was recognized by the New Zealand as the Player of the Match.
O-55 Men's 3 vs. South Africa 0
O-35 Women's 11 vs. Sri Lanka 0
The U.S. O-35 Women's Masters Team had a breakout performance defeating Sri Lanka 11-0. The match was off to a quick start with the first USA goal coming within the first 30 seconds of play by Elizabeth Wood (Phoenix, Ariz.). With some great connections and quick ball movement USA was able to maintain control of the pace of the game. Rounding out scoring in the first half, midfielder Kiley Strohm (Hummelstown, Pa.) put in her second goal of the day off a penalty stroke. In total, eight different players registered goals for USA, including Shannon Minnich (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), Tiffany Cappellano (Oley, Pa.), Jessica Rose Shellenberger (Lancaster, Pa.), Elizabeth Putz (Monroeville, N.J.), Kelly Dearolf (Lancaster, Pa.) and Patricia Gillern (Hartford, Vt.). On the defensive end, goalkeepers Nicole Baudini (Doral, Fla.) and Heather Long (Pottstown, Pa.) teamed up to give USA their first shutout of the tournament. The U.S. O-35 Women's Masters Team now look ahead to the Thursday matchup against Spain at 6:25 a.m. ET.
O-40 Women's 1 vs. Spain 3
In a quarterfinal matchup, Spain got in the board with two early goals in the first quarter. Both squads were unable to convert on several scoring chances in the second and third quarters. In the final frame, just when USA was gaining momentum, Spain intercepted a pass at the center line, quickly got up numbers and finished with a goal. USA got on the board with a minute left in regulation to sneak one past Spain's goalkeeper.
O-50 Women's 3 vs. South Africa 2
The U.S. O-50 Women's Masters Team made their place in the quarterfinals with a 3-2 win over South Africa. Sophie Etienne (Belmont, Mass.) opened the scoring three minutes into the opening period on a pass from Carol Gulija (Flemington, N.J.) to take the early lead. South Africa responded in the second period to tie the game 1-1, but USA’s Toni Arner (Quakertown, Pa.) tipped a shot from Denise Zelenak (Wilmington, Del.) to regain the lead. A strong shot off a penalty corner in the third period would tie the game once again for South Africa. In the final seconds of the period, USA responded with a goal off a penalty corner. Nicky Hitchens (Philadelphia, PA.) received the ball at the top of the circle and scored on a rebound from her own shot to put USA up 3-2. Hitchens’s goal would prove to be the game winner as the fourth period would remain scoreless. USA will face Ireland again in a rematch that will decide which team will advance to the semifinal round. This is the first time a U.S. O-50 Women’s Masters Team has made it to the quarterfinals.
O-55 Women's 0 vs. Australia 2
The U.S. O-55 Women's Masters Team faced an undefeated Australia team at the Marti Colomer Olympic Stadium in Terrassa, Spain, falling 0-2. Australia played a strong possession game in the first half, challenging USA's defense and goalkeeper, Donna Chung (Canton, Mass.) on multiple occasions. USA rallied to keep Australia at bay but let up momentarily on a cross from the right side to a weak-side forward, who gave Australia the 1-0 advantage. The third quarter remained scoreless with USA playing tough and tight defense, fending off Australia’s pressure and creating several scoring opportunities. In a hard fought fourth quarter, Chung stopped all shots in the field of play. Despite USA's momentum build, Australia scored their second goal on a hard penalty corner shot just inside the post. USA proved to be a tough opponent for the talented Australia team, and will play their final pool game against New Zealand, who also lost 0-2 against Australia, with crossovers beginning Thursday.
For more information regarding the EXIN Masters World Cup, including full schedule, results, roster, live stream information, and more, check out the official event program by clicking here.