Washington: It was a disappointing start to the USA tour for the Indian Women hockey team as they suffered a narrow 2-3 loss to the Champions Trophy bronze medalists in their opening match, here on Tuesday.
For India, Preeti Dubey (33rd minute) and Deepika (38th) scored a couple of goals in the third quarter, while Kathleen Sharkey (6th), Katie Bam (31st) and Kelsey Kolojejchick (48th) sounded the board for US. Both the teams tried to play cautious hockey and avoid defeat. The game’s tone was set, with both looking to hold fort and react through counter attacks.
In the 6th minute of the match, USA took the lead via Kathleen Sharkey. In an otherwise timid first half, India’s Vandana Katariya’s attempt at goal was unsuccessful as the ball hit the post. India came back tougher in the second quarter and started making inroads into the USA defence. They soon started playing strategically compact hockey, denying USA the ball in scoring areas. The two teams went into the half time break with USA leading 1-0.
The third quarter was a hard fought battle as India looking to get back into the game started pushing forward in numbers. USA, defending deep and working on the counter, were lucky when Katie Bam scored a second in the 31st minute via a pelanty corner. India countered quickly and capitalised on their advantage as Preeti Dubey scored the first goal for India in the 33rd minute.
Immediately, in the 38th minute Deepika scored the equaliser with both teams entering the final quarter as 2-2. However, the final quarter saw USA take the lead with Kelsey Kolojejchick scoring the third goal for USA in the 48th minute. Speaking after the match, Chief Coach Neil Hawgood said, “These matches are extremely crucial as our final preparations for Rio Olympics. We had a neck-neck fight today, the girls played well. We are going to analyse the loopholes and better on in our subsequent matches.” India’s next match with USA is on 21st July at 04:00hrs IST.