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USWNT with Impressive Win Over India in FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier Opener

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RANCHI, India – In their opening match of the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier Ranchi 2024 in Ranchi, India, the No. 15 U.S. Women’s National Team took on No. 6 India. After tallying early in the second quarter, USA maintained a solid defensive structure to hold on for a 1-0 win over the hosts.

The match started with India in control, earning the first circle entry in the 3rd minute. Good defense by Jillian Wolgemuth (Mount Joy, Pa.) stopped the attempt and also sparked offensive momentum for USA. A close chance came for the United Eagles in the 11th minute after Maddie Zimmer (Hershey, Pa.) used great speed down the right sideline to get into the circle. She pushed it on goal and India’s goalkeeper Savita stopped it, but the rebound fell to Amanda Golini (Randolph, N.J.) who ripped a backhand into the goal. After a video review an obstruction was called just off the ball. Moments later, Ashley Sessa (Schwenksville, Pa.) had a low angled backhand shot kicked away by Savita. India closed the quarter on attached but it ended scoreless.

Just 45 seconds into the second frame, Abby Tamer (Dexter, Mich.) gave USA the lead. After Golini’s backhand attempt was blocked, Tamer tested Savita and on the bouncing rebound, hit it in backhand out of the air. Midway through the frame, USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas) got her first touch, clearing away a baseline cross. On the resuming play, India earned three penalty corners in a row. After the first a re-award was given, then on the second Bing made two saves and on the third flyer Meredith Sholder (Fleetwood, Pa.) made the block. With 2 minutes to go before the half, India registered back-to-back shots, but a well-structured USA defense denied the chances.

USA opened the third quarter down an athlete after Brooke DeBerdine (Millersville, Pa.) was issued a green card. The United Eagles found themselves on the backfoot for a period but again showed poise on defense to not allow India to find any outcomes. Play stayed between the 25-yard lines for majority of the frame until India earned three set pieces in the remaining 37 seconds. On the third chance, Bing came up with the stop which was cleared by Sholder.

In the 47th minute, Zimmer forced a 5-minute yellow card to Vaishnavi Vitthal Phalke after cutting her off with speed. Although down a player, India took possession the other way and won a penalty corner. On the chance, it looked like the hosts evened the game, but after a review it was clear that the ball hit an India foot. In the 53rd minute, USA earned a sequence of three penalty corners but couldn’t capitalize. The United Eagles played the remaining minutes in a half-field and Bing fended off India’s attack, to secure the 1-0 win.

Following the game, USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing was named Player of the Match.

The USA women play No. 19 Italy tomorrow, January 14 at 6:30 a.m. ET in their second pool game. Fans can watch it live on CBS Sports Network or pay-per-view on Watch.Hockey.

For more information regarding the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier Ranchi 2024, visit the event page.

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