NCAA: Day 2 Sees U.S. Masters Notch Three Wins at 2023 WMH PACC

Images courtesy of Argentina Masters Hockey / Izarweb

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – On the second day of the 2023 World Masters Hockey Pan American Continental Cup (PACC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, five U.S. Masters Teams hit the fields to compete, while three came away with victories.

The U.S. O-35 Men’s Masters Team started the game with a quick goal in the 10th minute from Malachi Mahan (Lousiville, Ky.) after quick ball movement led to the early strike. In the second quarter, Argentina evened the match on a penalty corner deflection.

Argentina held control in the third frame. They came out strong and pushed USA deep into their half – but strong defending kept them in the game.

In the final period, USA started to exploit some of the gaps in the Argentina’s defense through counters and added two goals. The first in the 57th minute when Alexandru Gheorghe (Westport, Conn.) tallied off a penalty corner and then next in the 62nd minute when David De Prez (Prosper, Texas) scored a field goal. The game ended with three consecutive penalty corners for Argentina that USA successfully defended to secure the 3-1 win.

The U.S. O-50 Men’s Masters Team put up a strong defensive effort and held the host Argentina side to four goals, half of their tournament average, but lost in their opening game. USA was able to limit the looks of the Argentina side, including shutting out the host nation in the third quarter, but were unable to generate enough offensive pressure.

The Blue and White opened the scoring in the first quarter when Fernando Falchetto got loose in the circle and found the back of the boards 4 minutes into the game. From there, USA’s defense limited Argentina’s chances, holding the hosts off the board for 21 minutes until a pair of goals 2 minutes apart from Sebastian Cuello (23’) and Mario Joaquin (25’) gave Los Leones a three-goal cushion. USA was able to answer quickly with a great sequence from the back that led to a shot that was tipped just over the crossbar by Ranjit Singh (Ashburn, Va.), and the Golden Wolves remained off the scoreboard.

The third quarter saw USA’s defense stand strong as they kept their opponents off the scoreboard. “As we developed in the match, our structure improved, our communication improved, and that showed in the second half,” said vice-captain Erik Enters (Harleysville, Pa.). “We were really able to come together as a team defensively, and that frustrated them as they were not getting the looks they wanted.”

The Golden Wolves, who only conceded three penalty corners the entire match, did not allow a set piece goal in the contest. After two quick ones in the first quarter that USA was able to dismiss, including a great defensive save by Rajinder Goraya (Kent, Wash.), Argentina did not earn another penalty corner until late in the fourth quarter that was also well-defended by USA. Los Leones tacked on a late goal when Diego Saraceno scored from a ridiculous angle along the baseline after his first shot was saved by Pradeep Menon (Cummings, Ga.), one of the five he had on the day.

Today’s contest also marked the first international cap for five of the USA men. Rodrigo Alegria (Weston, Fla.), Kevin Bramble (York, Pa.), Paul Brown (Fredericksburg, Va.), Malcolm Finnamore (Maplewood, N.J.) and Singh all picked up their first taste of international hockey today in the contest.

USA returns to action on Friday, December 8 when the Golden Wolves take on Chile. Passback is at 2:00 p.m. ET.

The U.S. O-35 Women’s Masters Team faced Paraguay in their second match of the tournament. The first quarter saw balanced possession between the teams that ended scorless, 0-0. USA found their flow in the second quarter and flawlessly executed their strategy and game plan through the rest of the game. Ashley Johnston (Royersford, Pa.) got the ball rolling for USA with goal off a penalty corner just a few minutes into the quarter, and Janelle Benner (Lititz, Pa.) capped the frame with another set piece goal, putting USA up 2-0 going into halftime.

The next two quarters USA continued to convert. Goals from Molly Showmaker (Perkiomenville, Pa), Amy Krompinger (Newton, Conn.), and Savannah Devarney (Aptos, Calif.) headlined the third, extending USA’s lead to 5-0. Krompinger and Shoemaker each tallied their second in the fourth quarter, while Heidi Lewis (Kensington, Md.) also got on the board, demonstraiting the team’s depth of talent. Highlights of the match included relentless pressing pressure, successful penalty corner outcomes and connected team play on ball and off. The result was a beautiful game of field hockey and impressive 8-0 win for USA!

In their second match in two days, the U.S. O-40 Women’s Masters Team faced a tough Argentina side. Despite two player-up situations and a flurry of penalty corner opportunities in the fourth quarter, USA could not find what they needed to get on the board, falling to their host 4-0.

The first frame started off quiet, both teams keeping each other out of the cage. USA’s defense limited Argentina to just a single penalty corner, and the quarter ended 0-0. The second quarter was where Argentina finally tallied, scoring off a set piece five minutes in. After a 1-0 half, USA felt the pressure in the second half. Two back-to-back goals from Argentina saw USA trailing 3-0 at the finish of the third frame.

After staying quiet on offense for most of the game, USA looked to take advantage of a man-up opportunity in the final quarter. Despite a barrage of five penalty corners for USA, the red, white, and blue could not convert. After a final goal from Argentina, the hosts took a 4-0 victory over USA.

The U.S. O-60 Women’s Masters Team came out strong against their northern neighbor, Canada. USA utilized inside-outside passing and displayed great communication and patience. Canada was able to send a through ball past the USA defenders, but USA goalkeeper Lorraine Lewis (Bethesda, Md.) made an aggressive slide to stop the ball, allowing the defense to hustle back and clear the rebound. Short, crisp passes worked well for USA, and they earned a penalty corner in the last minute of the quarter. Deb Atkins (Quarryville, Pa.) inserted to Michelle Finegan, (Doylestown, Pa.) whose direct shot hit the backboard – putting USA up 1-0 to end the first quarter.

USA had an early scoring chance in the second frame but couldn’t get the final touch on the ball. Canada increased the pressure, and as Lewis stepped up to make another save, the ball was tipped just wide of the goal. Canada continued to pressure and earned a penalty corner, which was cleared by the USA defense. With more crisp and accurate passing, USA countered with a scoring chance, but could not finish.

Eventually, Finegan and Linda Polonsky (Hadley, Mass.) combined for some great passing patterns and another circle entry. USA earned another penalty corner and opted to switch up the tactic. The insert from Atkins went to Barb Wachowiak (Hamburg, N.Y.) who threaded a pass to Barb Doran (Old Sayrbook, Conn.). Doran tipped the ball towards goal, but Canada’s goalkeeper stood tall to make the save. The ball went harmlessly over the end line, as the first half ended with USA still leading 1-0.

The third quarter was played between the two 25-yard lines for quite a while until USA broke through and earned their third penalty corner of the match. The direct shot from Finegan went off a defender’s foot and on the subsequent set piece, a Canada defender fouled Jeanne McLaughlin (Quakertown, Pa.) as she tried to get the shot off. USA was awarded a penalty stroke for the breakdown, which Wachowiak came off the bench to take and scored. Now up 2-0, USA continued their pressure, building up the attack from the backfield. Diane Angstadt (Middletown, Pa.) received the ball on the right and crossed it into the circle, but the trailing mid was unable to get her stick on it. The score remained 2-0, USA, to end the third.

USA continued their strong play in the fourth frame. Doran had a shot that sailed just wide, while another USA attacking penalty corner resulted in a shot by Wendy Morris (Felton, Pa.) that was well defended by Canada’s defense. USA scored their third goal on a great passing sequence. McLaughlin passed to Morris whose shot was stopped by the goalkeeper, but McLaughlin was right there to put in the rebound – putting USA up 3-0. USA had another scoring chance a few minutes later, but Karen Croteau’s (Harpswell, Maine) shot was just wide. Canada bounced back with pressure up the field and earned a free hit just outside the 25-yard line. The direct hit into the circle went into traffic but USA’s goalkeeper kicked the ball away to the sideline, eventually resulting in another attacking play from USA. Unable to get a final shot off, USA finished the match with a 3-0 victory over Canada.

Click here to view USA’s schedule. Games held on the Blue field will be live streamed on Argentina Hockey Masters Association’s YouTube.

To view the 2023 WMH PACC Event Page, click here.


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