August 7, 2011

Suffocating Defense Sparks Another Team USA Victory

by Clare Lochary |

Alyssa Blevins and the U.S. defense held England to its lowest scoring output of the U19 women's world championship in a 16-5 win Sunday. Team USA gets Monday off before playing rival Australia to wrap up pool play Tuesday.

© Greg Carroccio

HANNOVER, Germany -- A steady defensive effort characterized Team USA's play in its match against England, as the U.S. emerged with a 16-5 victory at the 2011 FIL Under-19 Women's World Championship. The Americans held the English to their lowest scoring output in the tournament. It was Team USA's fourth consecutive win.

"We wanted to have a real focus on body positioning instead of checking, and never stopping on the play. You keep it tight until the whistle blows," said American defender Christine Ferguson. "It wasn't just our core 'D,' either. Everyone was using their footwork, from the ride when their goalie got it all the way until our goalie had it in her hands. We worked our butts off."

Facing a fast and athletic English team, Team USA head coach Krystin Porcella wanted to cut down on transition goals.

"We wanted our attackers to re-defend immediately, our midfielders to mark up immediately, and our defenders to deny that forward pass," Porcella said.

Cortney Fortunato led all scorers with five goals and won Player of the Match honors thanks to a few scorching shots that beat English goalie Izzy McNab, who put forth a stout effort in the loss. Midfielders Taylor Trimble and Madison Acton also had hat tricks for the U.S. Five different players scored for England, which struggled to find a consistent way to beat the American defense.

In goal for the U.S., Kelsey Duryea started and contributed four saves. Allie Murray relieved her at the half and added two more stops.

The game was not without its hiccups. Both Tatum Coffey and Caileigh Sindall picked up yellow cards, the second for each thus far in the tournament. But overall, the Americans' defensive stand was a success.

"We definitely controlled the ball a lot, and it was good to know we could help in transition and in a settled 'D,'" said midfielder Danielle Lazo. "If the defense is intense, then everything else feeds off that."

The Americans are now 4-0 in round robin play, outscoring their opponents 63-19. After a rest day Monday, they will face Australia, typically their greatest rivals in international play, on Tuesday at 7 p.m. local time. Australia is also 4-0 in round robin play, after surviving a tough 11-9 challenge from Canada.

FIL U19 Women's World Championship

Team USA 16, England 5

Goals: USA - Fortunato 5, Acton 3, Trimble 3, Coffey 2, Treanor 2, McMunn, Stanwick; ENG - Anderson, Harrington, Hitchcock, Nugent, Taylor .

Assists: USA - McMunn 2, Fortunato, Stanwick; ENG - Harrington

Saves: USA - Duryea 4 (3 GA), Murray 2 (2GA); ENG - McNab 11 (16 GA)

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