USWNT Defeats Italy for Second Victory at FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier
RANCHI, India – The No. 13 U.S. Women’s National Team took on No. 19 Italy in their second pool game of the the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier Ranchi 2024 in Ranchi, India. After a scoreless first quarter, USA tallied in both the second and fourth periods for the 2-0 win.
Italy wasted no time, getting into their attacking end and earning a penalty corner just 1 minute into the contest. On the chance, USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas) made a long clear that led to a fast break counterattack. Sanne Caarls (Nieuw-Vennep, Netherlands) used speed to drive into the circle and respond by earning USA a set piece. Ashley Hoffman’s (Mohton, Pa.) drag went wide but the United Eagles remained on the front foot. In the 5th minute the red, white and blue executed a penalty corner that earned them a penalty stroke, but Ashley Sessa’s (Schwenksville, Pa) attempt was saved by Italy goalkeeper Lucia Ines Caruso. Italy produced a circle entry in the closing minutes but smart defense by Jillian Wolgemuth (Mount Joy, Pa.) stopped the chance.
Although USA lost their video review at the start of the second quarter, they maintained in control. In the 20th minute, Sessa got USA on the board after she made a textbook deflection on a ball from Hoffman. Italy broke into their attacking quarter a few minutes later but the United Eagles didn’t allow them to threaten the circle. After a USA penalty corner saw a unsuccessful trap at the top, Italy countered and tested Bing. On the resuming play, Italy earned a set piece and again, Bing came up with the save.
Two minutes into the third quarter, USA produced a good chance when Beth Yeager (Greenwich, Conn.) send a goalmouth cross that went through untouched. The United Eagles continued to threaten and use their structured press to keep the ball deep in their attacking end. In the 38th minute, USA earned back-to-back penalty corners but to no avail. Italy had momentum in the final minutes, earning a few circle entries and a penalty corner, but the frame closed with the score unchanged.
Just 20 seconds in the final period, USA earned a penalty corner. The drag by Hoffman rang off the post but two minutes later they won another set piece. This time Hoffman converted with a forehand strike to make it 2-0. The United Eagles tried the same variation on their next penalty corner but could not find an outcome. With 4.5 minutes to go, Italy pulled their goalkeeper for an additional field player. Less than a minute later, Sessa was taken to the turf outside the circle which was upgraded to a set piece as a yellow card was issued to Italy’s Sofia Laurito. Italy’s flyer blocked the shot but USA worked to kill the clock with possession and hold the 2-0 win.
Following the game, Maddie Zimmer (Hershey, Pa.) was named Player of the Match.
The USA women are back in action on Tuesday, January 16 at 6:30 a.m. ET when they play No. 9 New Zealand in their final 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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