The U.S. women’s development field hockey team finished with a strong series win after four matches against Chile in Santiago, Chile, May 18-23. After securing the first two match wins, with scores of 1-0 and 3-0, the U.S team headed into the third game with confidence. However, the women did not continue their dominant streak, ending with a full-time score of 0-0 in the early morning game at the Prince of Wales Country Club May 22.
As in the earlier games, the U.S. made a strong start to the games with numerous dangerous breaks down the center of the field to rattle the Chilean midfield. The end of the first quarter saw Chile take some control, racking up three penalty corners, all of which were unsuccessful. The second period was a spotlight for the goalkeepers — both the U.S. goalkeeper Carrera Lucas of Brooklandville, Maryland and her Chilean counterpart were tested with shots in the air that they batted away with ease. The teams headed into the halftime break all tied up, with the critical game still hanging in the balance.
The third period was played mostly in the center of the field, and was relatively uneventful on the attacking front. The final quarter started with new intensity from both sides. Despite coming out hard, the U.S. were forced to play with only 10 players twice, as both Casey Umstead of Green Lane, Pennsylvania and Erin McCrudden of Yorktown Heights, New York were landed with green cards that saw them take the bench for five crucial minutes.
“We did not show attention to detail that I want from our players today,” Jun Kentwell, U.S. Women’s National Development Squad Head Coach, said after the game.
The final match May 23 gave the development squad the chance to finish strong, despite having already guaranteed the U.S. the overall series win. After a bumpy opening, the 3-0 shutout victory concluded a perfect series win with zero goals conceded across all four matches.
The U.S. started on a backfoot after conceding a penalty corner in the opening minute of the match. Goalkeeper Jess Jecko of Sauquoit, New York made back-to-back saves to protect the team’s clean sheet, but the team’s efforts to clear the ball resulted in a second penalty corner attempt for the Chileans. Snapping back after their defensive start, the U.S. opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a crossed ball that was volleyed into the corner of the net by Danielle Grega of Kingston, Pennsylvania.
The score remained 1-0 until the 46th minute when Umstead found Grega in the circle, who backhanded the finish, to double the score for the U.S. The game was pushed out of the reach for the Chileans when the U.S.’s third goal came in the 49th minute, from a penalty corner deflection at right post from Mary Beth Barham of Fairfax, Virginia. The remainder of the game saw Chile take up defensive positioning to try and reduce the deficit, resulting in a 3-0 final whistle score.
Next up, the U.S. Women’s National Development Squad will compete at the Young Women’s National Championship, which will take place at Spooky Nook Sports facility in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, June 25-29.