SANTIAGO, Chile – To open their 2021 Junior Pan American Championship campaign, the U.S. U-22 Women’s National Team took on the host nation at the Prince of Wales Country Club in Santiago, Chile. USA used a fast start in the first and second quarters to defeat Chile, 2-1, in their first pool play game.
“Winning the first game of a big tournament against the host team is not any easy feat," said Tracey Paul, U-22 USWNT Head Coach. "The team is united in their common purpose and it showed in how much grit they displayed during the most critical moments of the match.”
USA wasted no time to get on the scoreboard and just 19 seconds in, quick passing led to a goal from Lauren Wadas (Annville, Pa.). The following minutes saw USA control possession between the 25-yard lines, and their build up efforts paid off in the 9th minute when they earned their first penalty corner. Unable to get a positive shot off, Chile used momentum to get on the front foot and counter. After a hard defensive foul by USA, the home team found the equalizer on a penalty corner goal from Amanda Martínez in the 12th minute.
The red, white and blue again came out fast in the second frame as Charlotte De Vries (Malvern, Pa.) grabbed USA penalty corner. On the attempt, a slip shot from Leah Crouse (Virginia Beach, Va.) got past Chile goalkeeper Rosario Lanz and Sofia Southam (Ann Arbor, Mich.) put it in off the post. Two minutes later, Chile responded with a penalty corner, but USA goalkeeper Annabel Skubisz (Houston, Texas) made the save. To round out the frame, USA threatened with a few shots and Chile used persistent pressure to earn a second penalty corner, but neither team could add to the 2-1 halftime score.
The third quarter opened with Chile producing back-to-back shots that went wide. Midway through the frame, USA had a close chance when a deep run on the right side saw Riley Donnelly (Doylestown, Pa.) cross the ball along the baseline that Ashley Sessa (Schwenksville, Pa.) missed in front of the goal. A determined Chile put USA’s defense under pressure, earning two penalty corner chances in a row but were unable to find outcomes.
Two minutes into the fourth quarter, Crouse was taken down inside the circle to give USA a penalty corner. Although the initial attempt through Hope Rose (Dauphin, Pa.) and Crouse’s follow up were blocked, USA earned a reward and the second try through Donnelly was also defended well. In the 53rd minute, Sessa was issued a yellow card as Chile opted to pull their goalkeeper for an extra field player. Under pressure, USA fended off a gritty home side for the remaining minutes to secure the 2-1 win and three points in Pool B.
“The win from today really set the tone for the rest of the tournament,” said Alia Marshall (Rehoboth Beach, Del.), U-22 USMNT Captain. “We played against the home team in front of a huge crowd favoring Chile but kept our composure and pulled out the win. We found a few things we need to implement for tomorrow but overall played a great game of hockey and are excited to carry this momentum throughout the tournament.”
The USA women will return to the pitch tomorrow, August 23 for their final pool game against Trinidad and Tobago at 12:00 p.m. ET. The USA men start their JPAC journey tomorrow, playing against Argentina at 2:00 p.m. ET.
For more information regarding the 2021 Junior Pan American Championship, visit the event page.