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August 1, 2012
U.S. falls to Australia in third preliminary match
LONDON - Australia’s Anna Flanagan scored on a penalty corner in the 33rd minute, to defeat the U.S. 1-0 this morning at Riverbank Arena in London’s Olympic Park.
“We are very disappointed with the outcome,” said Head Coach Lee Bodimeade in a post-game press conference. “This match was one we targeted as getting three points in and today we came up empty. We had chances, but unfortunately did not capitalize.”
Australia opened the first half with two penalty corners, but Flanagan sent both drag-flicks wide. Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.) was consistent in creating scoring opportunities inside in the circle, but couldn’t knock one past Australia’s goalkeeper.
After much back and forth action, a penalty corner was awarded to the U.S. with seven minutes remaining in the first half. Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.), who’s celebrating her 27th birthday today, fired a direct shot that was stopped by a defender’s foot and a penalty stroke was called. Lauren Crandall (Dolyestown, Pa.), a frequent stroker for the U.S., placed the ball exactly where she intended, to the low left corner of the cage. It was a good attempt, and Australia’s goalkeeper made a great save to keep a scoreless match.
Australia capitalized on the missed opportunity by the U.S. as Flanagan converted her third drag-flick attempt into a goal to take a 1-0 lead in the finals minutes of the first half.
The U.S. played solid defense in the second half and goalkeeper Amy Swensen (Grantville, Pa.) made critical saves to keep the U.S. in the game. Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, N.C.) and Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) applied pressure and had some convincing scoring opportunities, but again, could not capitalize. Australia held on for a second win in the preliminary rounds, keeping their semi-final hopes intact.
“Australia got three points off of us today, and when every game is a must-win and you let points slip away, it hurts you in the end,” said Crandall. “We have two more games left so we're definitely looking to get three points out of the New Zealand and South Africa games. We’ve got to refocus and get back to how we know how to play.”
The U.S. is hopeful to get back on track in the match against New Zealand on Saturday, August 4. The U.S. vs. New Zealand matchup will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network at 2:00 p.m. ET. New Zealand currently has two wins in the tournament and will face Argentina this evening at 9:15 p.m for their third Olympic match.
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