New Zealand's Black Sticks
(Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)
New Zealand rolled away with a commanding 5-1 win over USA on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Chula Vista, CA. The series concludes with New Zealand winning four of the five matches. Nick Conway and Carrie Lingo were phenomenal at commentating the match that was broadcast live on USA Field Hockey’s website.
USA had an outstanding start, penetrating the circle early and often and challenging the goal. The early domination resulted in a 1-0 lead for USA entering the second half. Michelle Cesan (Harding, NJ) scored the lone goal by collecting a pass from teammate Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa) and delivering the ball into the net.
A dazed New Zealand team came to life fifteen minutes after the first whistle. Their speed through the midfield challenged the ladies in red, but excellent patience and tackles enabled USA to hold on to the one goal advantage.
Captain Carrie Lingo’s words of advice to her Team at the half was to “focus on the simple, execute your skill and do your job.”
With New Zealand hungry for a goal, USA struggled to match their pressure entering the second stanza. A clever play by Krystal Forgesson only two minutes after the start put one past goalkeeper Jackie Kintzer (Robesonia, Pa) and evened the score at 1-1. The black sticks showed confidence and power and pushed the pace of the game by taking quick re-starts.
New Zealand was successful at capitalizing on penalty corners that were awarded in their favor. The black sticks went from being down 1- nil to leading the match after a scrappy offensive player put a second goal past Kintzer. Full pressure by New Zealand resulted in three additional goals before the end of the match and a fourth victory for the 6th world ranked team.
Captain Kayla Sharland did a great job at spoiling scoring opportunities for USA. Her extensive experience shined through not only in the final match today but throughout the five game series. Conway commented on her performance as being “simply brilliant and outstanding.”
New Zealand’s ability to execute in important moments and when opportunities presented themselves proved to be the difference in the match today.
A disappointed Lauren Crandall spoke after the game stating, “New Zealand is a great opponent. They put us under a lot of pressure in the second half and we didn’t respond as we wanted. We have some fine tuning to do before the Pan Ams next month.”
Tomorrow is selection day and Head Coach Lee Bodimeade will be announcing the Pan American Team that will travel to Guadalajara, Mexico next month. There is a pool of twenty-five athletes vying for a spot on the roster and the players on the US Team have been fighting and scrapping for selection over the last few months.
While their opponents this week have already qualified for the 2012 London Olympic Games, USA still needs to do so. The Pan American Games, October 19-29, will serve as the Teams first opportunity. USA’s hardest opponent in the continental qualifier will be the world’s number one ranked team Argentina. But, as Lingo stated today, “the difference between the top ranked teams in the world is so minimal. It all comes down to the team that is able to create and execute scoring opportunities on the pitch.
Source: USFHA media release