The USA women's national team received a not-so-warm welcome from the world champion Netherlands squad as the Dutch blanked the U.S. team 3-0 to open the USA's five-game tour.
The Dutch scored three penalty corner goals in securing the win over the visiting USA. Dominating the first 10 minutes of the match, the Dutch converted a penalty corner at the 5:00 mark and added to the lead in the 22nd minute off a direct penalty corner shot.
After conceding the first two goals, the USA settled in and played the Dutch even throughout the remainder of the half. The USA withstood three additional Netherlands penalty corner attempts, but failed to capitalize on a pair of penalty corner chances of its own as the teams went into halftime with the Dutch leading 2-0.
The USA had a chance to get on the scoreboard early in the second half, but Tiffany Snow (Escondido, Calif.) saw her penalty stroke attempt sail high as the Dutch maintained their 2-0 lead. The Netherlands added their third penalty corner of the game late in the contest to secure the match.
"The performance displayed considerable growth in ball handling and tactical understanding from the USA," said USA Technical Director Terry Walsh. "The Dutch had considerable difficulty in holding full pressure against the USA defense. The USA pressing strategies created numerous turnovers from the normally composed and unflappable World Champion's defense."
The match marked the U.S. National Team debut for Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Dana Sensing (Denver, Pa.) who earned their first international caps in the contest. Defender Kelly Doton (Greenfield, Mass.) was named the USA's Player of the Match.
Ranked No. 1 in the international standings, The Netherlands captured the World Championship at last year's World Cup in Madrid. The USA is currently ranked 9th in the world following a sixth-place World Cup finish.
The USA women and head coach Lee Bodimeade continue their Netherlands tour with matches against Dutch club teams Hertogenboschon April 25 and Amsterdam on April 27. The USA will get a rematch with the Netherlands national team on May 1 before concluding the tour May 2 against the Dutch club Pinoke.
The Netherlands matches continue the USA's preparations for this summer's Pan American Games, 15-29 July in Rio de Janeiro as the team will try to earn the continent's automatic berth in the 2008 Olympic Games as the Pan Am champion. The USA will enter the Pan Am competition as the No. 2 seed behind defending champion and world No. 2 ranked Argentina.
Following the Netherlands tour, the USA will travel to Argentina for a four-nation tournament with Canada, Chile and the host country 12-29 May in Mendoza before competing at the Champions Challenge in Baku, Azerbaijan with China, England, Korea, New Zealand and host Azerbaijan. The USA women will then compete in the U.S. National Championships, 17-24 June in Virginia Beach. The Pan Am Games team will be named following the National Championships.
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