The United States earned two wins against Japan in the first two games of a five-game series held in California.
In the first game, USA claimed a 4-2 win. USA Field Hockey raised a total of $11,316 following the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Japan in early March. Prior to the start of the series, a large check was presented to the Japan team.
"Today was a good start to what will be a very competitive series with Japan," said Caroline Nichols, USA Women's National Team player. "We had a chance to implement a lot of what we have been working on in practice against a strong opponent. It is nice to see our work come to shape. I am really excited to see what further steps we take in this series. Today's win was a step in the right direction."
USA got on the board just six minutes into the game when Rachel Dawson hit a straight shot past Japan's goalkeeper on a penalty corner. Strong ball movement led to USA's second goal, eleven minutes later with Katie Evans firing a shot to the back of the goal.
Japan capitalized on two penalty corners early in the second half, tying the game, 2-2. The match remained tied until the fifty-fourth minute. Crisp passing and quick play resulted in USA's third goal by Maren Ford. Four minutes later, Torrie Albini scored a fourth goal with a deflected pass into the net.
In the second game of the series, USA held Japan scoreless with a 3-0 victory.
Katie O'Donnell scored USA's first goal on a breakaway. O'Donnell faked Japan's goalkeeper to the left, leaving an open net for her to fire a shot off. Rachel Dawson scored her second goal of the series capitalizing on a penalty corner, sending a ball straight past a diving Japan goalkeeper. USA's third came from Michelle Vittese, who deflected a ball sent into the circle by Lauren Crandalll.
Japan led USA in penalty corners 5-4, but were unsuccessful at converting any into scoring opportunities.
"We knew that Japan was going to come out with more intensity and be a little more rested today, so that was a big challenge for us," said Torrie Albini, National Team player. "I think everyone is pleased with how we responded to their increased level of play and we're happy we came away with a win."
The remaining matches will be played on April 26, 27, and 29. All matches will be played at 2pm PDT at the Olympic Training Center located at 2800 Olympic Parkway, Chula Vista, CA.
Source: USA Field Hockey Press Release
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