Delaware duo stops Aussies in Olympic field hockey

RIO DE JANEIRO – With its Delaware duo setting up one goal and scoring the other, the U.S. field hockey team continued its mastery of stiff competition at the Summer Olympics on Monday morning.

Katelyn Falgowski assisted on the first goal off a corner hit and Caitlin Van Sickle scored the second after a corner as the U.S. nipped Australia, ranked No. 3 in the world, 2-1 in its second Pool B matchup.

On Saturday night, the No. 5-ranked U.S. had also downed No. 2 Argentina 2-1 and now stands atop the pool at 2-0.

“We prepare well,” said Falgowski, the third-time Olympian out of St. Mark’s High whose family now lives in Lewes. “Australia came out really hard today, as did we. We were able to play with a lot of emotion, a lot of grit and I think that’s getting us through. We’re never giving up out there.’’

Michelle Vittese scored when Falgowski received the penalty corner and passed to her as another U.S. player came through and swung her stick to fake a shot in the hope of duping the defense.

“It’s a dummy hit, a dummy fake,” Falgowski said, “where you’re trying to get the flyer [defensive player sprinting off the line] to jump on it.”

There was 5:40 left in the second quarter.

“We executed that perfectly,” said Vittese.

The U.S. made it 2-0 with 4:24 left in the third quarter when Van Sickle, stationed in front of the cage, poked in a loose ball after it had been crossed following a corner hit and slightly deflected.

“It wasn’t a great goal, but I’ll take it,” Van Sickle, the Tower Hill School grad from Wilmington, said of scoring in the Olympics. “A goal’s a goal.”

American goalkeeper Jackie Briggs frequently made clutch saves, including a stick stop on a first-quarter shot and using her padded left hand to thwart penalty-corner blasts in the second and third periods, the latter on a dive to her right. Four of her six saves in the game came on penalty corners.

“She’s having a great tournament,” Falgowski said.

But Australia, despite temporarily being down to nine because of players being carded, got within 2-1 with 2:38 remaining in the third period when the U.S. failed to clear a loose ball after an Aussies breakaway and Kathryn Slattery scored. But the U.S. held on for the win.

Pool play continues with games against Japan on Wednesday, India on Thursday and Great Britain on Saturday. The top four in the group of six reach the quarterfinals.

“It’s always good to get results like that,” Van Sickle said of the first two U.S. wins. “Both teams are really tough. Well, all the games in the Olympics are really tough, so to get a result, it’s always great. It’s one game a time. Now we’ve got to focus on Japan.”

Contact Kevin Tresolini at Follow on Twitter @kevintresolini

Delaware duo stops Aussies in Olympic field hockey.

Source: Delaware duo stops Aussies in Olympic field hockey

Get in touch!

Share your email to receive monthly updates on all the best stuff in Wilmington! You know you wanna.