The last game of pool play at the Pan American Cup concluded just as the sun started to set behind the mountains and chilling temperatures crept in. The U.S. Women’s National Team earned their position in the semi-finals this afternoon by defeating Uruguay 6-1. After three games, Team USA finishes Pool B undefeated also beating both Mexico and Chile previously this week.
“Today we had a very good first-half performance,” said U.S. Women’s Head Coach, Craig Parnham. “We executed in a lot of areas we have been working on and there were a good percentage of penalty corner goals.”
The U.S. spent the first half of the match against Uruguay as an attacking entity. There was a sense of fluidity in today’s play from the backfield through to the forward line. The combinations were endless. Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.) earned the first point of the day off a shot from the top of the circle. Dawson then found Kelsey Kolojejchick (Larksville, Pa.) off the right post for a redirected tip. Minutes later Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, Va.) added a goal for the U.S. as her initial shot deflected off a Uruguay defender’s foot and into the cage. Team USA took full advantage of a corner awarded with 30 seconds remaining in the first half. Dawson was able to find Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.) for a tip as time expired giving USA a 4-0 lead after one half.
“I think we brought a lot of energy in the beginning stages of the game that allowed us to earn scoring opportunities,” said Dawson. “I think the energy in the first half really allowed us to let the game flow a bit easier in the second half.”
The second half commenced with another assist by Dawson. This time she found U.S. teammate Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.) on the left side of the circle to push the ball past Uruguay’s leaning goalkeeper. Uruguay was able to tally their first point of the match when they snuck the ball past U.S. goalkeeper, Alesha Widdall (Witney Point, N.Y.) with five minutes remaining in the game. Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.) closed out the scoring frenzy for Team USA extending the final score to 6-1.
“Part one of our journey is accomplished by earning nine points during pool play,” said Dawson. “We now go into the semi-final where all teams are equal.”
“It was very important for us to come away today with a win,” said Parnham. “We will wait to see who we play but we are excited to start the next phase of the tournament.”
Team USA’s next opponent will be determined after Canada finishes their match against Trinidad and Tobago. The semi-finals are scheduled for Thursday, September 26 and the gold and bronze matches on Saturday, September 28.
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