Sept. 25, 2005
The USA Field Hockey Under-21 team defeated South Africa, 4-2, to finish in seventh place at the Junior World Cup and secure its best-ever finish in the history of the event.
"The whole staff is just really proud of the way these kids have carried themselves the entire tournament," said USA coach Tracey Fuchs. "Finishing seventh in the world is pretty good stuff. We can always strive for a higher place, but right now, we're just very proud of the way they played."
The seventh place finish was the USA's highest-ever finish at the event after placing 10th (of 12) in 1989, 12th (of 12) in 1997 and 14th (of 15) in 2001.
Playing South Africa in the 7th/8th place match, the USA jumped out to an early lead when Mia Link (Jenkintown, Pa./Virginia) tipped in a penalty corner in the third minute of the game for a 1-0 USA advantage.
But South Africa came right back on the ensuing possession as Danielle Forword connected on a field goal just seconds later to tie the game at 1-1.
The USA game back with back-to-back goals when Lauren Crandall blasted in a penalty corner in the 15th minute for her 10th goal of the tournament, and Laree Beans hit the back of teh boards with a shot from the middle of the circle to give the USA a 2-0 halftime lead.
"South Africa is a really good team," said Fuchs. "We got a lead and then we let them back into the game. But in the second half we played really, really strong in the first 15 minutes and that was the difference."
The USA used the second half intensity to increase the lead when Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa./Wissahickon HS) took a pass from Katie Grant (Lehighton, Pa./Duke) and deposited it past South African keeper Alana Richardson for a 4-1 advantage.
The USA defense maintained the advantage throughout the second half until South Africa's Ilse Davids knocked in a field goal in the final minute of the game for the 4-1 final.
The USA entered the Junior World Cup as the No. 9 seed and quickly became the surprise team of the tournament with a 4-2 win over England and a 2-2 draw with top-seeded The Netherlands in the first round of pool play.
After scoring the most goals of any tournament team in a 14-0 win over Zimbabwe, the USA defeated host Chile, 3-1, in front of a large, partisan crowd before suffering a 1-0 loss to Australia on a penalty corner goal in the final minute of play.
Needing a win against Spain to clinch a spot in the tournament semifinals, the USA came from two goals down late in the game to force a 4-4 draw. The draw was not enough however as the team dropped into the 5th/8th place bracket where the USA lost to Pan Am rival Argentina, 2-0, to set up the 7th/8th place game with South Africa.
USA Under-21 4, South Africa 2
USA: Mia Link (PC, 3:00)
RSA: Danielle Forword (FG, 4:00)
USA: Lauren Crandall (PC, 15:00)
USA: Laree Beans (FG, 18:0)
USA: Katie O'Donnell (FG, 46:00)
RSA: Ilse Davids (FG, 69:00)
USA Starters: Lori Hillman, Jamie Whitten, Katie O'Donnell, Katie Grant, Mia Link, Katelyn Falgowski, Amy Stopford, Lauren Crandall, Rachel Dawson, Lauren Powley, Katherine Blair (GK)
Subs: Cara Lynn Lopresti, Michelle Kasold, Laree Beans, Brianna O'Donnell (GK - 51:00), Katie Evans
Coach: Tracey Fuchs
South Africa Starters: Lenise Marais, Cindy Brown, Kathleen Taylor, Danielle Forward, Leslie-Ann George, Vidette Ryan, Megan Robertson, Kim Hubach, Leandrie Steenkamp, Liesel Dorothy, Anna Botha (GK)
Subs: Cara-Lee Botha, Natasha Davidson, Ilse Davids, Marcelle Keet
Coach: Jenny King
Umpires: Carol Metchette (IRL), Lee Keum Ju (KOR)