LONDON, England – June 23, 2013 – The U.S. Women’s National Team fell to Italy, 2-1, on Sunday in the second match of pool play at the World League Semi-Final in London. The silver lining is that the critical match of the tournament is the quarterfinal, which determines whether or not a team progresses to the top four places.
“It was a disappointing result considering we controlled much of the game,” said head coach Craig Parnham. “We dominated the game and looked after the ball, but didn’t get enough return from our circle entries.”
While it is certainly not the way the U.S. anticipated starting the tournament, Parnham explained that the format allows for losses in pool play. Teams may advance through to the final if they have a successful quarterfinal match.
After dominating for extensive periods throughout the first half, Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, N.C.) put Team USA on the board with a field goal in the 22nd minute. Unfortunately, the U.S. couldn’t hold on to their one goal advantage before the end of the first half. In the 28th minute, Italy’s Macarena Ronsisvalli fired a shot at the top of the circle on a breakaway that snuck past U.S. goalkeeper Jackie Kintzer (Robesonia, Pa.).
Jill Witmer (Lancaster, Pa.) had a strong scoring opportunity early in the second half. Witmer and Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg, Pa.) had a give-and-go exchange that left Witmer alone in the front net, but the shot was inches too wide.
The U.S. earned their first penalty corner of the match in the 44th minute, but Italy’s goalkeeper, Martina Chirico, put a stop to the scoring opportunity with a diving stick save.
The U.S. had another chance after Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.) was tripped going to goal. Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach, Va.) was called to take the penalty stroke, but Chirico once again made a crucial save to keep the score even 1-1.
With less than a minute remaining on the clock, Italy capitalized with a last minute goal on a penalty corner to finish three points ahead of the U.S. in pool play.
The U.S. will face No. 7 China on Tuesday, June 25 in the final match of pool play. China has a win against Italy and a loss against Argentina.
“China is a very strong, experienced team,” said Parnham. “It is important for us to take some time and reflect on what happened today and then get ready for China because it will be a big game.”
Two-time Olympian Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg, Pa.) earned her 150th cap for her country, making her the third highest capped player on the U.S. Women’s National Team.
“Earning 150 caps is a fantastic achievement,” said Parnham. “She has been a fantastic asset to USA Field Hockey and will continue to be a significant part of this group.”