US Defeats Chile And “Connects” To The Bronze Medal At Pan Am Games

At the post game news conference with Janneke Schopman and Erin Matson who scored three goals in the 5-1 win against Chile, the word, connections came up. Erin revealed that connecting in this game after the disappointing loss in the semi-final on Tuesday was a theme for this contest. Connect they did for five goals with virtually all them the result of assists and passes from teammates.

The first two minutes of the game saw both teams come out determined but it was the US who was to score first off a Lauren Moyer backhanded crossed off the pads of the Chilean goalie. However, Chile responded  a minute later with a goal of there own. It was at this point Head Coach Schopman recalled not knowing how the game was going to go. If you score the first goal those two minutes after a goal is important she indicated. “It was at that point I didn’t know how the game would go.”

 

 

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But the team stuck together and played together to light up the scoreboard four more times to seal a solid victory and the bronze medal. First half domination was missing in  previous games but the team responded in the second quarter this time. In the third minute, captain Kathleen Sharkey sent the ball to Erin Matson weaving between two defenders and she delivered a backhand into the goal. Sharkey got a goal of her own in the 21 st minute after a series of cross field passes, ended on her stick at the top of the circle after which she delivered a rocket into the cage. The fourth and final goal of the first half was supplied by Matson after a rebound picked up by Ashley Hoffman who passed to Amanda Magadan whose shot rebounded only to be picked up by Matson who scored her second goal of the evening. CONNECTIONS INDEED!!

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In the third quarter it was the defense who shined through the use of a high press that stymied Chile’s renewed effort in search of a comeback.

The fourth quarter saw witness to Matson’s 3rd goal in the 52nd minute. Hoffman received the insert and dragged back to Matson who finished …5-1 USA.

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Coach Shopman after the game revealed, the team would receive 2 1/2 weeks off after which they would begin preparation for another Olympic qualifier after the Oceana Cup. That game would be probably be on the road with a team to be determined.

US Falls In Semi-Finals To Canada

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Canada used a well executed corner in the first half and a second goal from the field in the second half to come out with a 2-0 win over the US team. US fans no doubt were looking for the second half surge that characterized the previous wins by the US, but it was not to happen. Captain Kathleen Sharkey was right on point as she described the Canadian counterattack as a key difference in the game.

Canada got their first goal off a corner with a well executed shot by Karli Johansen in the second quarter. The US responded with several close chances but just couldn’t find the connections to result in the tying goal. Both teams came out with purpose in the second half, as the US again saw several close chances, but didn’t find the back of the cage. The US goal keeper Kelsie Bing was kept busy, and made several close saves. But as the half wore on, Canada did again find the goal by the way of a shot by Madeline Secco.

It was after the second goal, it seemed to me, the US got more and more desperate and there was a lot of individual effort to spur a comeback. But all credit to the experienced Canadian defense as they seemed to be everywhere, tackling, blocking passes and closing spaces.

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Canada now moves on to the finals and a shot at an Olympic berth, and US will play Chile to capture a bronze medal. This will be the rubber match with Chile, who showed their skill even in a loss to the US in the Pool B match up. Coach Shopman expressed her disappointment, but resolved to do her best to keep the team together for a final medal opportunity.

Again, experience was the key in the game and although individually talented, this young US team must find ways to stay together, and develop, to reach it’s full potential, I believe.

Time To Get Serious…US Earns Semi-Final Berth

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Amanda Magadan greets officials

Off a 9-0 victory against Cuba on Sunday, the US Women’s team earned the right to play Canada, the second place team from Pool A at the Pan Am games. The US finished the quarter finals undefeated, as has Argentina in Pool A. Canada has one loss, against Argentina. Argentina  will play Chile whose one loss is with the United States in Pool B.

The Pan Am championship is an automatic qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics next year. Argentina by virtue of its ranking and performance in the pro-league already has a ticket. So for Canada and the US this is the most direct path to Tokyo.

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Erin Matson skirts the Cuban defender

Looking at the stats in this tournament and at the rosters, the obvious difference is the Canadian team’s experience. Twelve of their players have 100 caps or more, the US has only 3. The most experienced US player has 170 caps. However, Canada’s average age is very close. Two US players got their experience as teenagers. In fact MacKensie Allessie, who has yet to play a college game is second in scoring for the tournament with six goals to her credit. Canada’s leading scorer is Sara McManus with 5 goals, 3 from the field and 2 penalty corners.

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US Goalie Bing stretches out to defend

Significantly , scoring has been spread around the US team and one of the US’s advantages is their ability to score from anywhere on the field. Canada has scored 24 goals, two on penalty strokes, 9 on corners, and 13 from the field. The US has 26 goals, 1 penalty stroke, 11 penalty corners, and 14 from the field.

The US is ranked 13 and Canada 18 in the world. Games between these two hockey rivals have been contentious and battles are right to the end. The stakes are high as both teams are looking for that precious Olympic spot. No doubt coach Schopman, the US Coach would like to see a faster start for the US team given their late game rallies in the previous games.  Game time is 6:15 Tuesday but it will not be televised. The championship game will be Friday evening and will be on one of the ESPN channels.

Mackensie Allessie Lights Up The Scoreboard For Four Goals In Pan Am Game With Peru

 

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The US was certainly on hostile ground as they took on the Peruvian National Team in their last game in Pool B competition. Despite the large home crowd, band and enthusiastic fans the US came away with an 8-0 victory characterized by their typical second half surge. But it was MacKensie Allessie, a recent high school graduate from Mt. Joy, Pa. who became the story of the game. Mackenise holds the national high school record for a career at 331 goals. The eighteen year old joined the senior national team this march after a notable career on the junior teams. She will play hockey for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

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Today, encouraged by the chance to be in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 lit up the scoreboard with 4 goals! The US had numerous chances in the first quarter to score but it was a Froede to Moyer combination that but the US on the board in the seventh minute of play. That would be the only score of the quarter.

Despite several. penalty corners it looked as though that might be only score of the half until the 2 last minutes, which resulted in as many goals with Danielle Grega and Erin Matson  scoring for the end of the half. Grega found the back of cage after a scramble followed a minute late  by Matson firing a shot between the Peruvian GK.

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The second half started out in explosive fashion when it looked like the US connected for an early goal but it was called back by the officials. However, it was only one minute later the MacKensie found the first of her four goals of the afternoon. US fans had little time to  wait when the young striker made it 5-0. A minute later she was to capture at least a hat trick for her efforts.

She was to get her fourth in a Froede to Paolino to Allesssie combination to make it 7-0 going into the 48th minute.

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Captain Kathleen Sharkey closed the scoring off a direct hit to the right corner during a penalty corner. in the last minute of the game. The US is now finished their Pool play in first place and will play the last team in Pool A on Sunday.

 

US Wins In Brutal 4-2 Match

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The last time the US and Chile met, the US came out on the short end, after a last minute goal.   The US was expecting a tough game as Chile came into the match after having defeating Peru 13-0 on Monday. But it was a grueling come from behind effort by the US, after giving up goals in the 12th minute in the first quarter and in the 6th minute of second half. As the saying goes 2-0 may be the most dangerous score in field hockey.

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The officials came armed with multiple cards of green and yellow. The US received 3 greens in the first half with Erin Matson collecting two alone, one as time ended in the first half. Chile also received their share of yellows.  The last yellow card was given to US player Moyer with three minutes left in game and the US up by two goals.

Penalty corners played a key role in the game as Chile earned their two goals on penalty corners  at the 12 minute mark and the second half on a reverse deflection in the 36th minute. However the US was not to be denied today, and they got into gear scoring their first goal in the 49th off a nifty play. Matson hit a long hit to Ulmstead who passed to Gonzales back to Ulmstead deflected off of Manley to Matson for the first goal for US of the match.

One minute later Lauren Manley responded with a goal of her own to tie the game at 2 with 10 minutes left. At 53 minutes Ali Froede scored on another corner that deflected off a Chilean defender to make it 3-2.  Kathleen Sharkey got a fourth goal for the US as it again hits a Chilean defender making it 4-2 in the 56th minute,

There was no relaxation as Moyer received a 5 minute yellow as the US defense held strong for the last 3 minutes.

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The US will play Peru in the last game of their pool and then it will be crossovers. The team showed their mettle and determination today and represented the US with distinction!! Go USA

This game is a lesson for our players at every level. Persistence, and hard work can earn you wins. This was a key win and our team played like the champions!! Head Coach Janneke Schoopman admitted the team was not playing to their full potential as they had difficulty connecting in the first half but she was pleased to see the team bring some “attitude” to the fourth quarter. Indeed they did!!!  Four goals worth!!!

Check back later and I will post more pictures ! It’s a shame there was no live stream. I know US field hockey tried hard and even offered to bring their own cameras etc, but the  company that bought the rights wouldn’t allow it. Hopefully, they will show at least the semi-final and final games for us to watch.

Magadan Scores In Dominating Win By US Over Mexico

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Magadan looks to pass against Mexico in the Pan Am Games

In the first game of the Pan Am Field Hockey Tournament, the US took a 5-0 win against Mexico. The first half was a back and forth affair as Mexico turned back several good chances by the US. The US had 9 penalty corners alone in the half. With three minutes left in the first half, midfielder Danielle Grega found the back of the net with a deflection to give the Red, White and Blue the 1-0 lead going into half time.

Coach Janneke Schopman must have had a lot to say to the team as they came out with renewed vigor and Amanda Magadan got on the scoreboard in the thirty fourth minute with a deflection off a Sharkey  straight shot to right post, where Magadan dutifully put it in the cage for a 2-0 lead for the US.

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Amanda deflects the ball for the score!!

 

This started a torrent of scoring when, after only 3 minutes having ticked off the clock, Lauren Moyer emerged out of a scramble in front of the cage to get the ball past the Mexican goalkeeper making it 3-0. One minute later Erin Matson made it 4-0 scoring off a rebound, initially delivered by a Hoffman drag flick during a corner. Matson, the inserter  deftly lifted the ball for the score.

Two minutes later Ashley Hoffman finished the scoring after Mexico pushed a US player inside the circle, and the US was awarded a penalty stroke. This was the final score in a 5-0 dominating win for US.

Step one completed, and now on to Chile on Wednesday at one o’clock.

Olympic Quest For Amanda Magadan And The US Team Begins Today, July 29

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For Lafayette alumnus Amanda Magadan ,and the US National Field Hockey Team, the quest for Olympic glory begins today in a stadium in Lima Peru. The opening ceremony is over for the  Pan Am games and the US team gets down to work, defending their previous gold medal.  Another Pan Am gold in 2019 punches their ticket to the Tokyo Olympic games. This young hard working team has been reconfigured by Janneke Schopmann and has spent the past year sharpening their skills in the World Professional field hockey league where they played with the best. Amanda, in the past several years has earned over 69 caps in her time on the Junior and Senior squads. She is one of the final 16 established athletes selected for this effort.

The games will run through early August. The team currently ranked 13 in the world and is assigned to Pool B which includes Mexico, Chile, and host country Peru. Pool A includes the ever dangerous Argentina who is currently ranked number 3. So a repeat championship game with Argentina looks likely. However Coach Schopman cautions that Canada and Chile, in particular, have made great strides in recent months. We all know the game, and the ball can take funny bounces, but the team seems ready!!

Today the team will kick of off play at 3pm against Mexico. Mexico is currently ranked 30th in the world and finished 6th in a recent tournament in Japan. The last time the two met it ended in a 6-0 win for the US, with team captain Kathleen Sharkey scoring a hat trick in the process.

Don’t think for a moment that the team is taking this game for granted. Unfortunately this game will not be live streamed but I will try to cover the result, and action in a timely manner. Hopefully the semi-final and final will be telecast on ESPN 2.

 

Meanwhile, the Lafayette Field Hockey team begins a quest of their own in several weeks.with their first scrimmage set in a mere three weeks.