In its first game of pool play, Team USA came up with a huge 2-1 upset win over medal-winning favorite Argentina.
Las Leonas dominated the clock on the offensive end for most of the first quarter, but drag flick specialist Maria Barrionuevo could not convert on the team’s only penalty corner of the half. Team USA goalkeeper Jackie Briggs came up with some huge saves to keep Argentina from getting on the board. She stopped 13 Argentina shots on the day.
In the second quarter, the U.S. had its first penalty corner opportunity of the game. However, Argentina’s defense was just as strong in thwarting away Rachel Dawson’s shot attempt. Katie Bam had a chance at a goal when she got Argentina’s goalkeeper out of position, but the shot bounced off the near post. Both teams ended the half scoreless.
"I think the first period, we started a little slow, maybe a little bit tentative," Team USA head coach Craig Parnham said. "We've got some players that have not played on this stage before. It may be better attributed to that."
Argentina appeared to go up a goal early in the third, but the shot ended up being disallowed for dangerous play. Team USA capitalized on this call. Katie Reinprecht fired a shot shortly after which deflected off of Belen Succi in goal and into the back of the net putting them ahead 1-0.
"That first goal we scored, if you saw it coming, you're thinking, 'That's probably not going to go in,'" Briggs said. "But you just never know. You've got to shoot it."
Team USA added to its lead on a penalty corner attempt early in the fourth quarter. Michelle Kasold deflected the shot in off of another Dawson drag flick to put her team up 2-0.
With just over three minutes remaining in the game, Argentina’s Delfina Merino converted on a shot to cut the U.S. lead to one goal. Team USA's defensive efforts led by team captain Lauren Crandall would prove to be enough to earn them a huge statement win over a dominant Argentina squad as the seconds ran out on the game clock.