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BULLETIN: June 20, 2015 — USA 6, Ireland 1

What a difference four days can make in the FIH World League Semifinals.

In the final round of pool play on Tuesday against Ireland, the United States senior women’s national field hockey team came up empty on the offensive end in a 2-0 defeat. But in the consolation semifinals today against the same Irish team, the U.S. team came up trumps, as Katie O’Donnell and Lauren Crandall scored two goals each in a 6-1 win.

The win gives the United States a berth in the fifth-place match against Spain. Winning that game would mean that the U.S. could make the Olympics if at least three teams who finish in the top three in this tournament and the other World League Semifinal in Antwerp are also able to win their respective continental championships.

Head coach Craig Parnham made one major lineup change for this match, starting Alesha Widdall at goal. The U.S. team played freer on the attack end, and, most importantly, came through on penalty corner conversions. Crandall pinged in two long shots in 30 seconds, putting Ireland on the back foot for the rest of the match. Though the Green Army tried its best to mount a comeback, it couldn’t stop Katie O’Donnell from whacking in a pair of changes early in the second half to make the deficit four.

It was a particularly cruel result for Ireland, which was just one shootout goal from playing in the semifinal round of this tournament, but lost 3-2 to China after a 1-1 draw in Thursday’s quarterfinal round. Now, the Green Army must win the Eurohockey title in late August in London in order to make the Rio Olympics.

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