Germany dashes Team USA’s hopes in Olympic quarterfinals

By on August 17, 2016
Lititz’s Alyssa Manley, shown here carrying the ball through the midfield against India in the Rio Send-Off Series, helped Team USA claim the United States’ most wins in the sport to date at the Olympic Games.

Lititz’s Alyssa Manley, shown here carrying the ball through the midfield against India in the Rio Send-Off Series, helped Team USA claim the United States’ most wins in the sport to date at the Olympic Games.

After a promising 4-0 start in the 2016 Rio Olympics, the U.S. Women’s Field Hockey Team came up a little bit short of their goal bring home a medal.
Knocked into second place in the final Pool B standings with a 2-1 loss to Great Britain in a battle of unbeatens last Saturday, Lititz’s Alyssa Manley and Team USA were eliminated on Monday by suffering a hard-fought 2-1 setback to Germany in the quarterfinals at Deodoro Hockey Stadium in Brazil.
“I’m proud of what we’ve done; it has been a great journey,” USWNT head coach Craig Parnham said through a press release on “The players have given everything they got. As a coach, that’s all you can ask for. ‘Incredibly proud’ would be the adjective here.”
Although they won’t return home with a medal, the Americans did achieve some impressive history at the Games. Coming off a last-place finish at the 2012 London Olympics, Manley and her teammates claimed the United States’ most wins in the sport to date at the Olympic Games.
In the past two years, Team USA rose from the world’s No. 10-ranking to the No. 5 spot.
Germany, the third-place team in Pool A, took a 2-0 lead in the first quarter on goals Marie Mavers and Lisa Altenburg in the eighth and 14th minutes, respectively. Team USA had a pair of goal-mouth scrambles in the opening stanza, but couldn’t convert.
Then in the second, the Americans appeared to get on the scoreboard, but a video referral erased the tally, showing that the ball went off the body of Katie Reinprecht. Later, Team USA earned a penalty corner in the 23rd, only to see Germany’s defense deny Rachel Dawson’s drag flick.
Penn Manor product Jill Witmer had a chance, but her diving sweep attempt at the stroke mark was stopped by Germany goalie Kristina Reynolds.
“With two goals early on, you’re a bit heavy on the back foot,” Parnham said. “All that meant was that we were going to continue to make risks to create opportunities, which makes us a little more susceptible to a counterattack, but we managed it pretty well. Of course, we prefer not to be two goals down in the first part of the game, but we’ve been there before and fought our way back. Had we have scored a little earlier, I think it would have been a different game.”
Michelle Vitesse’s sweep on a penalty corner in the third was deflected out of bounds by Kelsey Kolojejchick.
Finally, Team USA made it a one-goal game when Katelyn Falgowski connected with 3:54 left in the fourth quarter. Katie Bam, who combined for five goals in wins over Japan and India in pool play, had a late chance, carrying the ball into the attacking circle, but coming up empty and hitting the ground hard following a collision with a German opponent.
In the end, the U.S. women converted on just one of its five shots, while Germany scored on two of their seven shots.
Last Saturday, defending bronze medalist Great Britain spoiled the Americans’ hopes of a perfect run through pool play, scoring twice in the final seven minutes to pull out a 2-1 victory.
With the game scoreless at the half, Team USA broke the ice halfway through the third. Witmer got the ball from Lauren Crandall and tipped it to Vitesse, who ripped the ball past Great Britain keeper Maddie Hinch for the 1-0 advantage.
It stayed that way until No. 7-ranked Great Britain got the equalizer with 7:33 left in the game, courtesy of Sophie Bray, with Vitesse serving a five-minute yellow card. Alex Danson then put GBR up for good on her goal in the 56th minute.
U.S. keeper Jackie Briggs recorded 22 saves in her team’s five pool games, including four against Great Britain.
“We played some nice hockey throughout the week and it’s good to qualify for the next phase,” Parnham said. “Tonight was a little bit disappointing. We didn’t really get going in the first half and in the second half when the game started to flow, we received a few cards which interrupted our rhythm.”
In other action last Thursday, Bam connected twice and Melissa Gonzalez also found the back of the cage, leading Team USA in a dominant 3-0 shutout of India.
Last Wednesday, Aug. 10, the Americans improved to 3-0 in pool play with a lopsided 6-1 drubbing of No. 10-ranked Japan.
Bam collected a hat trick, and Witmer celebrated her first-ever Olympic goal to lead the attack. On the first of Team USA’s eight corners, Gonzalez scored in the opening minute.
Later, Reinprecht’s goal increased the U.S. women’s advantage to 3-0 at the half, and it was never close again after that.

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