Erin Matson has represented the United States in field hockey since the age of 11, when she was selected to the United States U-19 indoor national team.
Matson, just a sophomore at Kennett Square Unionville (Pa.), has parlayed that experience into enormous impact in the outdoor game.
The winger had a brace for the American U-21 national team in a comprehensive 5-0 win over Chile in the semifinals of the Pan American Hockey Federation tournament in Taquarica, Trinidad & Tobago.
The win qualifies the States to the Junior World Cup this fall in Chile. The U.S. is to face Argentina, a 9-0 win over Canada, in the gold-medal match at the weekend. Both of these teams have been putting up video-game numbers on both offense and defense during this competition; something will have to give.
Matson’s goals were as easy as they were elegant. About 22 minutes in, Ashley Hoffman ran a hi-lo to an unmarked Matson on the insert, and she had enough room to build her own beach condo with the acreage afforded her before scoring.
Five minutes from time, Matson struck again off a horrendous Chilean error. On a 16, a mishit was intercepted by the speedy Matson, and she pulled wide left and lanced the ball into the cage with considerable aplomb. She has eight goals in these championships, tied for third in the overall table.
Margaux Paolino started off the scoring with an easy tip-in from the doorstep on 10 minutes. The U.S. side then crushed Chilean spirits with a pair of quick goals after withstanding some early pressure after the interval. Lauren Moyer crushed a 15-yarder on the dead run that caught the entire Chilean defense on their heels, then Hoffman nailed a drag flick into the corner two minutes later.