USA Field Hockey

May 03 The 2014 Champions Challenge Thickens with Intensity as Team USA Wins Semifinals

May 03, 2014, midnight (ET)

The 2014 Champions Challenge Thickens with Intensity as Team USA Wins Semifinals 
U.S. Women’s National Team defeats Spain 3-1 

GLASGOW, Scotland – May 3, 2014 – The U.S. Women’s National Team remained poised and present in the face of Spain’s opposition during their semifinal match at the 2014 Champions Challenge. From the backfield to the forward line, Team USA showcased a unified presence on the pitch with several attack opportunities. Despite Spain’s efforts to contain the aggressive play, the U.S. Women’s National Team won 3-1, sealing USA’s seat in tomorrow’s final. The winner of tomorrow’s match will qualify for the prized 2016 Champions Trophy event.

“It was a good game for us today,” said Head Coach Craig Parnham. “We saw some very good periods of play in the first half by taking chances. The second half was much tighter. Spain continued to step up their game. Overall, it was a very good performance.” 

Rapid back-to-back penalty corners permitted Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.) to lock Team USA’s first goal of the match. Without hesitation, the U.S. National Team sped off of the starting line and back into their attacking end. In the 12th minute of the match, Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.) fired off a reverse shot from the top right of the circle to loop past Spain’s goalkeeper. Feeding off of the forward energy, USA athlete Jill Witmer (Lancaster, Pa.) perfectly positioned herself on the right post to deflect a crossed ball into the cage creating a halftime report of 3-0. 

“We had a really great team performance today,” said U.S athlete Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.). “Everyone contributed in a different way. In the second half we were just resilient in our defensive area keeping Spain out. It was a great team effort and it’s really great moving into the final. There’s an exciting buzz. We have our work cut out for us with Ireland. We know a little about them and how they play because they were in our pool. It will be a gritty match and we’re excited for it and we’re happy to be in the final.”  

Leadership and communication in the backfield kept the press high to cutoff Spain’s passes in the second half. Although Spain managed to grab a goal in the remaining 35 minutes the USA didn’t back down and maintained control of the game flow. The match concluded with a result of a 3-1 victory for the red, white and blue.

On the opening day of Champions Challenge, the U.S. defeated Spain 3-1 and the following day the squad fell to South Africa 1-2. Ireland was the final pool play match for Team USA where they concluded with a score of 3-0. The tournament continued on as the squad launched into the first match of crossovers against India with a score of 1- 0

Tomorrow Team USA will play against Ireland at 5:45 p.m. local time, 12:45 p.m. ET. 

“It’s important that we prepare thoroughly for Ireland tomorrow,” said Parnham. “We’ll go over video and review our notes. We’re excited and ready for the finals.”

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