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Successful Second Half Propels U-21 USWNT to Dominant Win Over Canada at JWC

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SANTIAGO, Chile – A dominant second half performance from the No. 5 U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team secured them a crossover win over No. 18 Canada at the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup. Goals from seven different athletes highlighted the 8-0 win for the Junior Eagles.

Up just 1-0 at halftime, the squad put up seven goals in the second half. “One of the things we spoke about at halftime was that we needed to be more clinical in the circle and finish the opportunities we were creating.” commented U-21 USWNT Head Coach Tracey Paul. “We needed to be selfless and make the extra pass, be more disciplined getting someone on second post framing the cage, and to earn penalty corners if a shot or pass was not on.”

It was all USA from the start of the first whistle at the Claudia Schüler National Stadium in Santiago, Chile. Daniela Mendez-Trendler (Reistertown, Md.) earned USA a corner just over a minute in, but the straight shot from Lauren Wadas (Annville, Pa.) was blocked by the Canada goalkeeper. Shortly after, Canada took advantage of a free hit opportunity to rush up the field. An errant ball in space on USA’s defensive half was picked up by Olivia Bent-Cole (Philadelphia, Pa.), who sprinted up the righthand side of the field. Back on the attack, Kiersten Thomassey (New Albany, Ohio) sent a ball into the circle to Charly Bruder (Malvern, Pa.), whose reverse shot was saved by Canada’s goalkeeper.

USA continued to hold most of the possession. The Junior Eagles earned another corner at seven minutes in, with Josie Hollamon (Delmar, Del.) sending in a straight shot that was blocked and deflected out. Pushing up and around the circle, USA picked up another set piece chance just 30 seconds later. Mendez-Trendler bumped in the pass to the left side of the cage to give USA a 1-0 lead at ten minutes in. Back up on attack with no time wasted after the restart, a long ball was sent up to Bruder, who ripped a reverse shot that sailed high. Thomassey laid down a tackle at the 25-yard line to regain possession and sent it up to Bruder, who notched another shot which was saved by the heroics of the Canada goalkeeper. The Wolf Pups retaliated up the field, but were shut-down by a tackle from Hollamon, who sent the ball back up for USA. After the first 15 minutes, USA led 1-0.

USA continued their pressure into the second quarter, dominating the offensive chances. After a failed penalty corner attempt two minutes in, USA got a nice shot off – this time by Ryleigh Heck (Ocean City, N.J.) – that was saved. USA utilized clean passing to get out of their defensive end as Canada pushed up with a high press. Hope Rose (Dauphin, Pa.) collected a long ball from Hollamon, looking for a chance in the circle but not able to find one. Soon after, Rose earned USA a penalty corner at the 21-minute mark. Bruder’s hard shot from the top was called back as dangerous. Bruder had another opportunity in the circle not long after, but this time the reverse chip just barely missed as the Canad goalkeeper got a stick on it. Despite more opportunities from the red, white, and blue in the second frame, they came up empty on the scoreboard. The first half ended with USA still leading 1-0.

The next 15 minutes, USA broke open the scoring. It was almost a sure goal when Heck sent a pass up to Bent-Cole, who sent a one-time to Thomassey for a two-on-one situation, but the goalkeeper came up high. USA's goalkeeper Annabel Skubisz (Houston, Texas) was tested shortly after, making her own step up when a ball broke through the defense. Possession passing by the Junior Eagles in the backfield made way for a good look up to Rose, whose cross into the circle was defected right to Bruder. This time, Bruder got it past the goalkeeper, bringing USA’s lead to 2-0 at 38 minutes.

With five minutes remaining in the quarter, USA’s continued pressure led to another penalty corner chance. The straight shot from Hollamon was deflected up into the air, which Adams guided into the goal. Up 3-0 now, it was not even a minute later when USA tallied another; a beautiful passing piece from Adams to Mendez-Trendler and finished by Rose. The 4-0 lead was quickly upgraded to 5-0 when just a minute later Mendez-Trendler pulled right and sent the ball past the goalkeeper. The third quarter was a big one for the Junior Eagles, who ended the frame leading 5-0.

Confidence built up now, USA earned a penalty corner five minutes into the fourth - a shot from Bent-Cole was deflected out wide. At the 57-minute mark, a beautiful passing combination from Bruder to Dixon, who one-timed it into the goal, gave USA a 6-0 lead. Unrelenting on their pressure, USA won another set piece chance which featured a lifted shot from Reagan Underwood (Sinking Springs, Pa.) that was saved. Not soon after, Bent-Cole’s deflected shot was picked up by Abby Tamer (Whitmore Lake, Mich.), who lifted it into the net, widening the margin of USA’s lead to 7-0 with just two minutes left. With ten seconds to spare, Wadas became the seventh goal scorer of the match and tallied the seventh goal of the second half. USA ended the match with a 8-0 victory over their northern neighbor.

USA’s Ryleigh Heck was named the Player of the Match.

Next, the Junior Eagles will play at 4:15 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 7, against the winner of the match tonight between No. 23 Chile and No. 21 Zimbabwe. The winner of Thursday’s match will go on to play for the 9th place spot – the highest possible finish for USA. This match and all others will be live streamed on watch.hockey.

For all information about #JWC2023, check out the event page.

“Our goal is to finish top of our bracket. We will continue to stay process focused, professional, committed to our core values and representing the Junior Eagles with pride."
Tracey Paul

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