U.S. Masters Teams Kick off Competition at 2023 WMH PACC

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Four of the U.S. Masters Teams competing at the 2023 World Masters Hockey Pan American Continental Cup (PACC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina saw action on the first day. Although a victory wasn't registered, there were several close contests.

The U.S. O-35 Men's Masters Team played their first game as a team against a talented Argentina O-45 squad. Most athletes on USA were playing their first Masters international match. The team started off very well, taking a 2-0 lead off two field goals from Harkirat Guron (Mission Viejo, Calif.) and David De Prez (Prosper, Texas). They had several chances to increase the lead but failed to score from the opportunities.

Early in the second half, Noah Oppondo (Lafayette, Ind.) was injured defending a penalty corner. Even though USA had posession for much of the game, the team could not capitalize when Argentina had two athletes temporarily suspended.

A couple of lapses in concentration allowed Argentina to equalize. In the last 30 seconds, Argentina scored the winning goal from a penalty corner.

After about an hour rain delay, the U.S. O-35 Women's Masters Team took on Ceibo, an Argentinian Club team.

During the first quarter, Ceibo had two unsuccessful attack penalty corners. In the 10th minute, they scored on a cross from the lower left to the top right of the circle and a hard hit was deflected into the cage. The score at the end of the quarter was 1-0.

During the second frame, USA created more opportunities and the quarter was more evenly balanced. USA had two penalty corners, but were unable to capitalize. The score at halftime remained unchanged, 1-0, in favor of Ceibo.

For the most part, the third quarter was dominated by Ceibo. There was an offensive penalty corner shot by Ceibo that hit off the post and went out of bounds. At first the official signaled for a penalty stroke, thinking the ball hit a defender on the line. After discussion with the other official the decision was reveresed to a 16-yard hit out for USA. Ceibo was issued a green card for tackling from behind in the 52nd minute, giving USA a numbers advantage. Shortly after, USA earned a set piece and created a very close scoring opportunity where the initial shot was deflected high and wide, just missing the cage.

The fourth was another very evenly matched quarter. USA had good ball movement on offense and were able to redirect and anticipate on defense by working together. Ceibo was issued a second green card in the 65th minute, and more offensive pressure was created by USA. In a contentious end to the match, Ceibo were awarded a penalty corner, but the technical table blew the whistle in the middle of it as time expired. The game was called and the penalty corner was not fully played out. This is under appeal.

The U.S. O-40 Women's Master Team played Chile in a highly competitive game that saw Chile take a 4-2 victory over Team USA.

USA was faced with a barrage of pressure from Chile right from the start, going down 1-0 in just the third minute. With five penalty corner chances for Chile in the second quarter, they capitalized on one of them with just two minutes reamaining in the half. USA was down 2-0 as they headed into halftime.

A third quarter that featured a rain-soaked pitch saw renewed energy from USA. Depsite this, it was Chile who got on the board first - bringing their lead to 3-0. USA retailied by scoring two unanswered goals from Jenn Judy (Newark, Del.) in field play and Lucia Molina (Key Bisbayne, Fla.) off a penalty corner, giving them hope as they trailed 3-2 after the third frame.

Despite the effort, Chile sealed their victory with a fourth goal in the 56th minute. Team USA ultimately fell 4-2 after a rain soaked second half.

The U.S. O-50 Women's Masters Team took on a skilled Argentina squad for their opening match of the tournamnet. The host country fielded a young and very talented team that included five former international athletes. The first quarter was mainly played in USA's defensive half, with Argentina tipping in back to back goals late in the quarter to give them a 2-0 lead.

The score remained unchanged through the second quarter, with both defensive lines staying organized. Argentina came back hard in the third and was able to score two goals off rebounds after multiple saves from the USA goalkeeper. The host then added a fifth and final goal shortly after in open field play.

USA regrouped well and played their best hockey of the match in the last quarter, tallying two shots on goal and a penalty corner opportunity.

Click here to view USA's schedule. Games held on the Blue field will be live streamed on Argentina Hockey Masters Association's YouTube.

To view the 2023 WMH PACC Event Page, click here.