USA Junior Women’s Hockey team clinch a spot in the final eight with a victory over Canada
Dragflick Newsdesk : After a slight weather delay pushed back the start time, the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team took the pitch to face Canada in their final pool game of the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup, taking place at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa. With a spot in the Quarterfinals up for grabs, USA started slow but behind a two goal fourth quarter defeated Canada 4-0.
The opening 2 minutes of action saw each side share penalty corner opportunities, but both were unable to stop it cleanly on the top. USA had a swing of momentum halfway through the quarter and in the 8th minute opened the scoring.
Lauren Wadas (Annville, Pa.) received it under pressure, turned and got a shot off that was perfectly deflected in off the post by Riley Donnelly (Doylestown, Pa.). Closing out the period, down an athlete after a green card was issued to Ashley Sessa (Schwenksville, Pa.), USA withstood the pressure of a late Canada run to hold the 1-0 lead.
Canada had the upper hand in the second quarter, recording five shots and five penalty corners as well as put USA’s defense under a lot of pressure. Double turnovers hurt USA’s offensive threats as they struggled to positively break into their attacking 25. USA goalkeeper Annabel Skubisz (Houston, Texas) came up with several critical saves as the halftime break couldn’t come at a better time to allow the red, white and blue to hold the lead.
The third quarter started a bit slow with neither team able to gain a circle entry. The action picked up in favor of USA, and with just 3 minutes remaining they extended their lead off a penalty corner. The drag by Caroline Ramsey (Morristown, N.J.) was deflected in off a Canada defender to make the score 2-0.
Canada started the fourth quarter eager and earned a penalty corner in the first 2 minutes. The slip sweep by Melanie Scholz was saved by Skubisz and the resuming play forced her to make three more quick saves. USA immediately took control down the other way and saw two close chances go unconverted.
First, Sessa has a backhand that was saved by Canada goalkeeper Ishaval Sekhon and next a shot by Lindsay Dickinson (Glen Mills, Pa.) went off the post. The persistent attack was rewarded in the 51st minute when a Canada turnover in the midfield led to instant offense where Charlotte de Vries (Malvern, Pa.) passed it across the circle and Hope Rose (Dauphin, Pa.) stepped in front and touched it into the goal.
Three minutes later, USA secured the lead by adding another off a penalty corner, this time from a De Vries sweep that was deflected in by Kathryn Peterson (San Diego, Calif.). USA switched out their goalkeepers with Madison Kahn (Ocean City, N.J.) entering the game, but kept threatening and saw a few more looks from Sessa, De Vries and Dickinson as well as a time expired penalty corner on their way to the 4-0 victory.
“We were a little slow to start,” said Peterson, when asked about the second half.
“We had a good halftime chat to just play smarter, play quicker and more connected. It worked for us. With the game being delayed a bit it was tough for us to get into it but in the second half we were the team we wanted to be out there.”
Following the game, USA’s Kathryn Peterson was named Player of the Match.
USA will return to action on Friday, April 8 when they take on England in the Quarterfinals at 9:45 a.m. ET.