NCAA: Halfway Through: U.S. Masters Teams Complete Day 5 of WMH PACC

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Now halfway through the tournament, 20 matches have been played among the six U.S. Masters Teams competing at the 2023 World Masters Hockey Pan American Continental Cup (PACC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Day 5 showcased continued improvement and perseverance of the teams.

O-35 Men | USA (35) 3 – ARG (45) 3

The U.S. O-35 Men’s Masters Team had a much-improved performance against the Argentina O-45 team on Sunday. After going a goal down early in the first quarter, USA came back just four minutes later to tie the game, 1-1, with a good deflected goal by Dave De Perez (Prosper, Texas). The score would stay tied at 1-1 throughout the remainder of the quarter and through the second.

Early in the second half, Argentina scored from a penalty stroke, despite being one player down from a green card. USA applied pressure and tied the game off De Perez’s second goal on a well-executed penalty corner. The score was knotted up at 2-2 after the third quarter.

In a tense final quarter, USA took the lead with a goal by Malachi Mahan (Louisville, Ky.).  The red, white and blue had several chances to score but it was Argentina who scored on a penalty corner in the last 2 minutes to tie the game 3-3.

O-35 Women | USA 1 – CEI (SOM) 1

The U.S. O-35 Women’s Masters Team played its fourth match against another Argentina team, Ceibo, who are competing in the Spirit of the Masters (SoM) division. The highly competitive game saw the action swing back and forth at a fast pace from the first minute to the last.

The first quarter saw Ceibo on the attack right away, drawing a corner and a shot on goal, which was stopped by goalkeeper Heather Long (Pottstown, PA). The USA defensive unit, led by Janelle Benner (Lipitz, PA), stepped up to meet every challenge, including when a green card was issued to USA in the third minute.

The first attacking penalty corner for USA saw a creative scoop shot by Beth Stelling (Los Angeles, CA), which landed on top of the cage netting. USA had two more corners in the quarter but neither resulted in a go-ahead goal.

The second quarter saw more attacking play by Ceibo than in the first quarter, but the USA defense ultimately continued to thwart the forwards’ efforts. Neither team dominated, which led to demonstrations of ball control, stick stopping, and crisp playmaking by both teams. USA was more successful in the middle of the field, frequently utilizing Savannah Devarney’s (Aptos, Calif.) speed and passing prowess to connect USA’s defense to its offense. For its part, Ceibo turned to regular use of aerial balls in an attempt to get downfield quicker. Ceibo drew their first corner near half-time, but the shot was again blocked by Long. That led to a promising breakaway opportunity, but USA was unable to capitalize. The first half ended scoreless.

In the third quarter a blistering shot off an Ceibo penalty corner led to a brilliant hand save by USA goalkeeper Christina “Stivo” Walker (Moyock, NC). The back-and-forth nature of the game continued as the third quarter wound down, still tied at 0-0. As the fourth quarter got underway, USA attempted to change their approach on attacking penalty corners by exploring tip-in options. USA’s strategy paid off when captain Ashley Johnston (Collegeville, PA) found the back of the net with a perfect tip. USA followed up with more penetrations into Ceibo’s circle after one of their players was issued a yellow card, but they yielded no additional USA goals. Instead, Ceibo found an equalizing goal when a penalty stroke was awarded in USA’s defending circle. The final score ended in a 1-1 tie, but not before Walker made a final great save on another hard shot.

O-40 Women | USA 0 – CHI 1

In an evenly matched contest against Chile, the U.S. O-40 Women’s Masters Team showed tremendous growth from their previous meeting with Las Diablas. After a 4-2 loss earlier in the tournament, USA went toe to toe with Chile for the full match.

The red, white and blue traded scoring chances and possession throughout the game, and both teams’ defensive work kept each other out of the goal for almost an entire match. It was not until the final quarter that Chile scored what would prove to be the game-winner with under 5 minutes left to play. With the lone goal of the game, Chile took a 1-0 victory.

Lucia Molina (Key Biscayne, Fla.), along with co-captains Pattie Gillern (Medford, N.J.) and Haley Dervinis (Philadelphia, Pa.), had a strong game in the midfield, setting the pace for Team USA.

O-50 Women | USA 0 – ARG 5

In their third match in as many days, The U.S. O-50 Women’s Masters Team suffered a tough 5-0 loss to tournament host country, Argentina. 

The first half was marked by competitive midfield play including Pam Stuper (St. Petersburg, Fla) and Patti Webb (Monkton, Md ) who came out aggressive and focused on disrupting the Argentina’s dribble style of play. For the handful of plays that broke through, goalkeeper Jen Anderson (Owings Mills, Md.) was there with the answer, forcing Argentina to work for their first tally. The game went to halftime with a score of 1-0 in favor of Argentina.

Second half adjustments by Argentina put the USA defensive penalty corner unit and goalkeeper Maria Keesling (Downingtown, Pa.) to the test. Kathy Frick (Doylestown, Pa.) disrupted a handful of plays as the team’s first runner and defender Mel Emery (Big Sky, Mont.) added a defensive save. The team worked hard to generate counters through Florencia Manero (Key Biscayne, Fla.) drawing fouls and advancing the play and Kelly Setser (Louisville, Ky.) testing the Argentina goalkeeper late in the fourth. Despite the battle, USA conceded 4 additional goals in the second half. The match ended with Argentina taking a 5-0 win.

The team returns to play on Tuesday against Canada after a well earned rest day.

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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