Palermo, Sicily – The United States Women's National Team took a major step toward qualification for the Sydney Olympic Games by defeating Greece, 6-1, Thursday. The win moves Team USA into the medal round, keeping its hopes of earning one of the two Olympic bids which will be awarded to the top finishers of this tournament.
The US team took control of the match against Greece early and kept the
clamps on defensively throughout the contest. Coralie Simmons (Hemet, Calif.)
opened the scoring midway through the first period with a counterattack goal.
A shot by Julie Swail (Placentia, Calif.) deflected off the Greek two-meter
defender and into the cage for a 2-0 USA lead. Greece's only goal came with
19 seconds remaining in the quarter, as a backhand from two-meters snuck by a
diving Bernice Orwig (Anaheim, Calif.).
In the second quarter, Brenda Villa (Commerce, Calif.) countered out of the
backcourt and pulled up to hit a shot from six meters out. At 1:18, Gubba
Sheehy (San Diego, Calif.) earned an ejection at two-meters and converted a
quick pass into a goal for a 4-1 US lead at halftime.
The third quarter was a defensive battle, but Swail was able to break free on
a counterattack and bumped the lead to 5-1. With Greece fast losing hope of
qualifying for the Olympics, Maureen O'Toole (Piedmont, Calif.) put the nail
in the coffin, taking a pass from Swail and scoring left-handed from the post
on a six-on-five.
Orwig was outstanding in the goal, notching nine saves and forcing Greece to
miss its final 13 shot attempts.
The United States advances along with Italy to the semifinals. The two teams
meet Friday night in the final match of the second round, with the winner
advancing first from Group E, the loser advancing second. Hungary and Russia
will await from Group F for the semifinal matchups.
1 2 3 4 F
USA 2 2 1 1 6
GREECE 1 0 0 0 1
USA: Swail 2, Villa, Simmons, Sheehy, O'Toole
Saves: USA Orwig 9, GRE Ellinaki 5
Shots: USA 18, GRE 18
Powerplay: USA 2/6, GRE 0/3
Other Games: N/A
Hungary and Russia will advance to the semi finals in the other bracket and
will play tomorrow to see who advances as the top team.
Going into today's games, Russia has scored a total of 47 goals while Hungary
has scored 42 goals in four games. Italy has 36 and the USA 35 in three