U-21 USMNT with Winning Start Over Guyana at JPAC
by USA Field Hockey
IMAGES TAKEN BY WORLD SPORT PICS
SAINT MICHAEL, Barbados – The U.S. U-21 Men’s National Team started off their first match of the 2023 Junior Pan American Championships against Guyana at the Wildey Hockey Centre located in the Sir Garfield Sobers Sports Complex in Saint Michael, Barbados. The Junior Wolves exhibited strong skill and teamwork to shut out their opponent and claim a 3-0 victory.
“[I am] happy with the result," said Pat Harris, U-21 USMNT Head Coach. "The team did well to manage the game and stick to the principles we spoke about prior to the match. We will use a day’s rest to look at fixes and progress into our next pool match.”
The contest started off with high pressure from Guyana, but USA quickly turned it around with attacking force, earning a penalty corner in just the second minute of play. A foul on Guyana’s defense earned USA a retake, which was mis-received at the top. The Junior Wolves capitalized on this mishap by taking the ball quickly into the circle, where Wyatt Katz (Santa Rosa Valley, Calif.) scored off a shot from the right side. Up 1-0, USA continued to put pressure on Guyana’s defense, who was able to neutralize many of the Junior Wolves’ chances. USA regained most of the possession and utilized frequent substitutions to keep players feeling fresh for the rest of the quarter.
Similar to the first frame, USA struck early after the whistle to begin the second. Luca Civetta (Key Biscayne, Fla.) worked hard in front of the Guyana goalkeeper to send a cross to Mehtab Grewal (Somis, Calif.) who successfully scored to put USA up 2-0. There were several turnovers by both teams, but USA held onto a majority of possession. Despite this, the red, white and blue could not push past Guyana’s defense for another good look in the circle, and finished out the half with the same score of 2-0.
The third quarter saw Guyana step up their pressure, including earning their first penalty corner at the 37-minute mark. The initial shot was deemed dangerous by the official, giving USA the ball and shifting momentum back in their favor. USA immediately earned their own penalty corner, but was unable to capitalize. A few strong consecutive plays by Michael Mendoza (Monument, Colo.) on the left followed by Katz on the right looked good, but both were unable to materialize a shot. Guyana earned a second penalty corner with a few minutes left in the third, but were also unable to produce, as USA headed into the final quarter still up 2-0.
Continuing to fend off attacking pressure from USA, Guyana again came out pressing hard for the final quarter. Seeking to seal a USA victory, Katz had a skillful finish in front of the net – his second of the match – to put the Junior Wolves up 3-0. USA looked for a few more chances, including a wide penalty corner shot in the 54th minute, but eventually were content with their 3-0 victory over Guyana as the final whistle sounded.
USA will play their second pool game on Wednesday, April 12, against Canada at 9:00 a.m. ET.
For more information regarding the Junior Pan American Championships, visit the event page.
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