USA Advances to Medal Round in Field Hockey Junior World Cup
Aug. 7, 2009
BOSTON - The USA Field Hockey Women's Junior World Cup Team, featuring three members of the University of Maryland field hockey club, advanced to the medal round with a 2-1 record in pool play at the 2009 BDO Women's Junior World Cup following its 4-2 victory over India on Thursday.
The USA Women's Junior World Cup Team, which tied fellow Pool D members Australia and India with identical 2-1 records, will face Korea on Saturday at 7 p.m. in its first game of crossover play. Due to goal differential, USA finished third in Pool D behind No. 1 Australia and India. The top three teams in each pool continue to the medal rounds.
The 2009 BDO Women's Junior World Cup, the premier showcase for the world's best junior field hockey teams and the largest international field hockey event to ever be held in the United States, is being played at Harvard University's Jordan Field.
Maryland's Brianna Davies and Alexis Pappas, a pair of seniors, and junior Katie O'Donnell are among the 18-member Team USA. O'Donnell scored a pair of goals in the USA's 3-1 opening-game victory over Belarus on Monday.
O'Donnell, a two-time first team All-American at forward, is competing in her second Junior World Cup. She suited up for USA in 2005 in Santiago, Chile, where the Americans placed an all-time best seventh. Davies, a third team All-American in 2008, and Pappas, an All-ACC and All-Region performer, are competing in their first Junior World Cup.
Michelle Vittese scored two goals to lead the U.S. attack versus India in a rebound effort for the Americans after dropping a 2-1 decision to Australia on Tuesday.
"I'm very happy with the victory against a really tough and talented India team," said USA head coach Tracey Fuchs. "For us to come out and score four goals, it puts us back in the thick of things."
The Americans possessed the ball for much of the first half, pressuring the India defense. The USA finally broke through in the 21st minute when Laura Gebhart, the youngest member of the team, scored her second goal of the tournament. Gebhart chased down a loose ball and maneuvered around a group of defenders with some deft stickwork to chip in the goal.
"I was hoping for a penalty corner," said Gebhart, "but I kept getting more room to advance, and I saw Paige [Selenski] in the far corner of the goal. I was trying to get it to her, but it just happened to pop in the goal."
Melissa Gonzalez scored the second goal for the USA seven minutes later. Sitting at the corner of the goal, she redirected a pass from Katie Reinprecht for the score.
"It was a blur," said Gonzelez. "Katie gave me a great ball. I didn't see it go in, but I did hear the clink as it hit the back of the goal, and saw Paige Selenski jumping up and down. I was happy we were able to finish."
At halftime, the USA led 2-0. The American offense dictated the pace of the game for most of the first half, while much of India's play was relegated to disrupting passes and stealing loose balls.
"India likes to have a lot of people around the ball on defense, so our biggest tactic was to change the point of attack," said Fuchs. "We wanted to get the ball to the other side of the field and get numbers up and deny them the ball. They are very good one-on-one, but we defended well."
Vittese scored the first of her two goals with a tip-in at the beginning of the second half.
India broke the shutout with a penalty corner goal in the 44th minute from Rani Devi, but the USA responded two minutes later a dramatic drag-flick goal from Vittese on a penalty corner of their own.
"Today was a real team effort," Fuchs said. "We had three goals scorers and many contributing."
India added a final penalty corner in the finals seconds from Ritu Rani.
The 2009 BDO Women's Junior World Cup runs through Aug. 16. USA Field Hockey, the national governing body for field hockey in the United States, hosts the event.