In the first match of the U.S. women’s field hockey team’s Rio Send-Off Series, the U.S. beat India 3-2.
The U.S., coming off a bronze medal at the Hockey Champions Trophy in June, continued its strong form with the victory. The U.S. is currently ranked fifth in the world, its highest ranking ever.
India, who will face the U.S. in Pool B of the women’s Olympic field hockey competition in Rio, provided tough competition for the U.S. in the Olympic tune-up.
In the first quarter, India put some early pressure on the U.S., including a shot that hit off the U.S. post.
However, the U.S. settled in with a goal in the sixth minute by Kat Sharkey. Sharkey dribbled the ball down the end line and scored off a tight angle to give the U.S. the lead.
The U.S., without captain Lauren Crandall who was sidelined by a foot injury, continued to control play into the second quarter, but was unable to add to its lead.
Katie Bam doubled the lead for the U.S. early in the second half in the 32nd minute. Off a penalty corner she corralled a rebounded shot and slotted the ball into the goal.
India responded just two minutes later, as Preeti Dubey scored off a nicely orchestrated penalty corner, making the score 2-1.
India equalized in the third quarter as Deepika Thakur beat U.S. goalkeeper Jackie Briggs in a one vs. one.
With the scored tied at 2-2 going into the fourth quarter, the U.S. regained the advantage through a Kelsey Kolojejchick goal in the 47th minute. After having her initial shot saved, Kolojejchick was able to get her second attempt past India’s defense.
The U.S. defense was able to maintain its lead for the final 13 minutes to come away with the win.
The U.S. and India will meet again on Wednesday night before the U.S. faces Canada on July 26 in its last match before heading to Rio.
The U.S. opens Olympic play on August 6 against Argentina.