June 29, 2013 – The U.S. Women’s National Team kept their World Cup qualifying dream alive by defeating No. 15 world ranked Spain, 3-1.The U.S. will face Italy tomorrow for a fifth place finish at the World League Semi-Final in London.
“I am delighted with the result,” said U.S. head coach Craig Parnham. “Today was absolutely about getting a result. It didn’t have to be the most attractive hockey, but it had to purposeful and we had to make sure we got what we needed which was the win.”
“Spain is a difficult team to play,” said Parnham. “They play a solid game and are very difficult to breakdown. We always knew it was going to be difficult, but I am delighted with the way the team stayed on task and managed to grind out the result.”
U.S. striker Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.) forced a penalty corner in the 25th minute and recorded a goal, her second of the tournament, to put Team USA on the board first. Spain was quick to bounce back, putting the ball past U.S. goalkeeper Alesha Widdall (N.Y.) less than a minute later. The U.S. and Spain entered halftime with one goal apiece.
The match remained tied until the 64th minute when midfielder Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.) deflected the ball into the net on a penalty corner. Three minutes later, Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.), tallied her second goal of the tournament, with a chip shot over Spain’s goalkeeper. Two quick goals in the final six minutes of action propelled Team USA past Spain, locking in their first victory tournament.
“We are really happy to get a win today,” said Dawson. “We knew we needed to find the energy to put the ball in the back of the cage. A lot of different players stepped up today and we are looking forward to tomorrows challenge against Italy.”
The U.S. faced Italy in pool play and fell, 2-1. The U.S. controlled much of the game and the match was even, 1-1, until the 70th minute when Italy capitalized on their final penalty corner.
“Italy has had a good tournament and they have surprised a lot of people here,” said Parnham. “They had a good win today against South Africa and earned the right to be playing in the fifth place playoff match. We understand what the challenges are ahead of us and we know what they are going to bring to the game tomorrow.”
U.S. striker and 2012 Olympian Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, Va.) celebrated her 100th cap with Team USA with a victory. Taylor joined the National Team in 2010 and has been a leading goal scorer for the U.S. since transitioning from the backfield to the forward line.
“It is truly an amazing feeling and an honor to be able to represent my country on the hockey pitch,” said Taylor. “It was always a dream of mine to be a part of this group. Playing in 50 or 100 more international competitions would truly be amazing.”
“One hundred caps is a wonderful achievement,” said Parnham. “It shows a degree of commitment to staying in the game and working hard through the ups and downs of selection. Shannon is the latest player of this tour to receive milestone caps and it is very nice to have a win on her day.”
Fans can watch Team USA take on Italy live tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. EDT on the International Hockey Federation’s YouTube channel.