U.S. women fall short against Australia in field hockey

Posted: August 04, 2012

LONDON - Lauren Crandall stood on the stroke line and stared straight ahead, right through the helmet of Australian goalie Toni Cronk.

Crandall had a plan for the penalty stroke. It was just her and the goalie, and the captain of the U.S. field hockey team was going to aim for the bottom left corner.

"It went exactly where I wanted it to go," the Central Bucks East graduate said. "I just didn't want her to save it."

But Crandall's miss was just one of several lost opportunities for Team USA in its 1-0 loss to Australia on Thursday at Riverbank Arena.

For 70 minutes, the U.S. team and No. 7-ranked Australia went from end to end.

The difference: Australia recorded 14 shots to only seven by the Americans. In the second half, the 10th-ranked United States took five shots that sailed within a foot of the goalpost.

"I don't necessarily know why we managed to get it into Australia's circle but not past their goalkeeper," said Rachel Dawson, a former standout at Eastern Regional High in Voorhees. "Maybe we weren't determined enough, and maybe our attempts at being determined were turned into desperation."

Four minutes after Crandall's missed stroke, Anna Flanagan scored on a penalty corner to give three-time Olympic champion Australia a lead it did not relinquish.

"It gave us a little bit of confidence, seeing our goalie pull out a save like that," Australian midfielder Megan Rivers said. "It just gave us that little lift that we needed."

While Australia feels good with a 2-1 record in Group B, the United States is in an undesirable position with two games remaining in group play.

Team USA has a 1-2 record in the group, which includes No. 2 Argentina, No. 3 Germany, No. 6 New Zealand, and No. 12 South Africa.

The Americans had hoped to build off Tuesday's upset win over Argentina.

Australia "is a great team, and they capitalized on their opportunities," Dawson said. "But are they loads better than us? No."

Team USA will face New Zealand on Saturday, then South Africa on Monday.

The Americans likely will have to win both games to have a chance to reach the semifinals.

comments powered by Disqus