U-16 and U-21 USWNT Win Series Over Canada
by USA Field Hockey
Images Taken by Dawn Bent, Myda Clark & Jen Szukics
CHULA VISTA, Calif. - February 24, 2020 - Twelve days of competition across three age groups between the Junior U.S. Women's National Team and Canada's Junior squads came to a close on Sunday afternoon at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. Each playing in their third match, the U-16 USWNT tallied six goals in the second half to win 7-0 over Canada's U-16 team. The U-21 USWNT followed up their younger counterparts in a highly contested outing against Canada's U-21 team, where the red, white and blue found the goal twice in the second quarter that proved to be the difference maker.
U-16 USWNT 7 - 0 U-16 Canada
In their final game, the U-16 USWNT came out firing on all cylinders and jumped into an early lead, but it would take until the second half for them to add to their goal tally. Inside the first minute Alaina McVeigh (Lansdale, Pa.) finished off a USA attack from the left side of the field to give the team a 1-0 lead. The remainder of the first half would be an evenly-matched affair with chances at both ends and some excellent goalkeeping from USA and Canada.
Out of the halftime break USA started to up the ante and in the 37th minute Macy Szukics (Malvern, Pa.) deflected home a well-run penalty corner routine to double the advantage. Four minutes later it was Szukics again as she fired home from the edge of the circle after Canada's goalkeeper saved the initial effort by Ryleigh Heck (Berlin, N.J.). McVeigh tacked on USA's fourth score after some excellent off ball movement left her all alone in the circle and she deflecedt the final pass of a well worked, quick strike counter attack.
Olivia Bent-Cole (Philadelphia, Pa.) tallied USA's fifth goal from close range in the 47th minute to open the final quarter, then Ashley Sessa (Schwenksville, Pa.) added two of her own to make the final score, 7-0. Sessa’s first came through a backhand finish high into the netting over the shoulder of Canada's goalkeeper after she beat two defenders to find the space to shoot. The second, also on the backhand, was from a tighter angle as she finished with pinpoint accuracy.
“We started off a little slow in the first half, but as the game went on, our intensity and quality of play improved so much," said McVeigh. "We started playing like a team and connecting with each other which was great to see."
“I thought yesterday’s game was a great way to finish out this camp," added Kelsey Reviello (Colonial Beach, Va.). "At the start I thought we played very individual, but after our talk at half I felt like everyone refocused. In the second half I felt like we all were just having fun, talking, pressuring and moving together as a unit. I felt like this was a great game so that now we can learn to motivate ourselves on and off the field."
U-21 USWNT 2 - 0 U-21 Canada
The U-21 USWNT closed out their three-game series against Canada's U-21 team as the sun made a welcome return to Chula Vista.
In a close affair where goalkeepers on both sides were tested early, USA gained the lead when Megan Rodgers (San Diego, Calif.) opened the scoring for the second day in a row from a penalty corner. Rodgers carried the ball right off the trap before burying it in the far corner with a clean strike. It would be Rodgers again in the 22nd minute, this time from a field goal, as she collected the ball at the top of the circle from a long corner, rolled onto her backhand and fired it past the outstretched left foot of Canada's goalkeeper.
Despite taking a 2-0 lead into the second half, USA was unable to extend the scoreline and perhaps came closest on a penalty corner opportunity which was won as the horn sounded. As the deflection flew narrowly wide, the game drew to a close with USA winning 2-0.
“Today we were focused on sweeping the series and we did just that," said Gianna Glatz (Medford, N.J.). "Although Canada gave us some tough competition today, we remained focused, supported one another, and capitalized on the important moments that won us the game, and ultimately, the series.”
Next for the Junior U.S. Women's National Teams will have a joint training camp in Chapel Hill and Durham, N.C. from March 27 to 29.