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Archive for June 23, 2013

June 23, 2013 — U-19 Final: Cortina 4, Athens 2

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. —Ever since the National Futures Tournament was first contested two decades ago, participation in the tournament has roughly been proportional to the number of players from each Futures region.

This has meant that for the last few years, larger states with overwhelming populations of field hockey players tend to rule the Futures roost; even today, more than two-thirds of field hockey-playing schools are in just six states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Maryland.

It’s why Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the Delmarva region have swept U-19 honors when teams played for their regions.

But a reformatting of the NFT in recent years has given players and coaches alike a more equal chance at the gold medal, especially if a team can rebound from an early setback.

Ken Dias, the head coach for the Cortina team, started his coaching career in Rhode Island, which has only about 25 public and preparatory-school teams  He coached Tiverton (R.I.) for more than a decade starting in 1993, moved to Riverside St. Mary Academy-Bay View (R.I.) for three years, and has been an umpire and club coach with the Cape Ann Coalition for the last few years.

As such, he knows a thing or two about recovering from a bad start. Cortina lost 2-1 in the opening matchday to Athens, but learned its lessons well in the gold-medal match, dominating the midfield and allowing attacking midfielder Giovanna Fasanello to score a hat trick in a 4-2 win in the U-19 championship final.

“In this format, the team that blends together the quickest is going to be the most successful,” Dias said. “Once we got our lineup established, we stayed with it. In pool play, the most we scored in a game was two, but yesterday we had four goals and three goals in our games, and today, four. It’s about getting the right mix of players in there, and getting comfortable.”

“The first game, we were all over the place,” said Idrienne Walker, who also had a goal in the championship final. “It took that came to give us a sense of who we are, and what our strengths and weaknesses are.”

Fasanello, a rising senior from Clarence (N.Y.) who is committed to Central Michigan, has been working on more advanced techniques such as the drag flick. She opened Cortina’s account about five minutes in with a low flick that skimmed into the netting.

“I’ve been practicing with my dad in the back yard,” Fasanello said. “He built me a board with a turf carpet on it with the goal on it. I’ve been teaching myself, watching videos on YouTube, and hes been helping me the last month.”

But Fasanello was also helped out by tremendous team play. The field goal that cinched her play in history came off a glorious bit of skill on the part of Mackenzie Adams, the product of Lake Forest (Ill.) who has given her verbal commitment to Wake Forest. On the play, about seven minutes from the end, Adams appeared to melt around at least two defenders along the right end line, and slipped the ball to an onrushing Fasanello.

Athens, for its part, kept attacking. It had the American University prospect Emily De Marco, who was a menace on the wings all afternoon, scoring a goal off enterprising play. But the Cortina defense cut out most through balls to her, maintaining possession.

Walker’s fine 1-up strike ended Athens’ insurrection.

FULL TIME At the horn, Cortina wins the gold medal 4-2

47:00 COR PC Idrienne Walker pumps the ball in off the 1-up; that may be the telling goal as Cortina surges to a 4-2 lead

45:00 ATH GOAL Christa Doiron gets a goalie rebound and deposits it neatly into the open cage; Cortina’s still leading 3-2

44:00 COR GOAL A nice move along the baseline by Mackenzie Adams is converted by Fasanello and Cortina leads 3-1

41:00 Athens looks eager to equalize with strong attack play from De Marco and Lauren Bonness, but cannot get off a good shot

37:00 COR GOAL And just like that, Fasanello responds to give Cortina a 2-1 lead

36:00 ATH GOAL Emily De Marco gets free and scores to tie the game at 1-1

35:00 Lauren Bonness takes the ball into the circle and crosses, but

27:00 COR PC Fasanello tries another drag flick but it is defended by Molly Phillips

25:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME Cortina has done a good job of controlling the center of the park this far, cutting out through passes and outnumbering Athens to the ball

HALFTIME And at the whistle, Cortina holds a 1-0 lead

16:00 COR PC Alesandra Miller clears her lines smartly

9:00 ATH PC Dragflick bunted across the face of goal; judged to be dangerous

6:00 ATH PC Weak shot blocked down by Jen Harchut

5:00 COR PC and GOAL Giovanna Fasanello with a low drag flick that finds net; Cortina leads 1-0

3:00 ATH PC Shot goes wide

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Athens is in the white uniforms with the red numbers, Cortina is in the black with white trim

PREGAME The sun has come out after morning overcast and the temperature is about 82 degrees

PREGAME Cortina, for its part, won its semifinal 3-1 over Stockholm. Cortina has three Hampton Roads athletes and may benefit from some home cooking

PREGAME Athens, featuring incoming American University freshman Emily De Marco, best Barcelona 2-1 in yesterday’s semifinal

PREGAME Hello and welcome to the final of the U-19 National Futures Tournament featuring Athens and Cortina

BULLETIN: June 23, 2013 — Italy 2, United States 1

Italy’s national women’s field hockey team had the ball for only about 38 percent of this morning’s second-round pool match in the FIH World League semifinals in London.

But that was enough possession for the 17th-ranked Azzurri to pip a 2-1 win over the United States at Chiswick. The winning play came on a 70th-minute corner which saw a bouncing cross make it through the entire U.S. defense only to be scooped in by Stefania Tosco at the far post.

The United States team has managed only one goal thus far in this championship, but has had its chances. In the Italy game, they had 10 shots on the Italian goal, but some heroic defense by center back Chiara Tiddi kept her side in it.

The Applebees had a golden chance at full points less than 10 minutes from time, but Caroline Nichols’ penalty stroke hit Italy goalie Martina Chirico and dribbled agonizingly past the post, out of play.

It was that kind of day, and tournament, for the Americans. The U.S. team can still rescue a World Cup berth from the World League if it can get a result against China, and if Argentina is able to defeat Italy by a substantial margin of goals in the final round of pool play. That may allow the U.S. to avoid playing Pool A favorites England and Australia, which would be much the tougher assignments than South Africa or Spain.