Katie Bam leads Team USA to third straight win - WSMV News 4

Katie Bam leads Team USA to third straight win

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Team USA stayed perfect in pool play with 6-1 rout of Japan and took over the top spot in the Pool B standings.

Katie Bam was a machine, collecting a hat trick off of three skillful field goals.

"Games like this are statement games for us," Bam said. "It's easy to step up and play the people that are ranked higher than you. It's hard to step up and bury a team like we just did that's ranked lower than you."

The U.S. had full control over the game, starting with a Melissa Gonzalez goal less than a minute into play.

Not long after, Bam kicked into gear by deflecting a pass high into the cage that flew over Japan goalkeeper Sakiyo Asano.

With two minutes left before halftime, the U.S. ran another tricky play on a penalty corner attempt that had Katie Reinprecht taking the shot. She came through and just like that, Team USA completed its most dominant beginning of the Olympic tournament.

It didn’t take much time for Jill Witmer to score the fourth goal of the game, but the Cherry Blossoms followed up on a penalty corner attempt when Mie Nakashima snuck one into the corner of the cage.

Bam had an answer for that, using incredible stick skills to weave through two Japan defenders and fire one into the goal. She finished off the scoring with another field goal before heading to the bench.

"Really important game for us tonight," USA coach Craig Parnham said. "Japan were a very, very difficult team. I thought we did a really good job and a professional job, of picking up another three points. And the plus-five goal difference is really helpful when we're in pool play."

The goal difference puts Team USA ahead of Great Britain in the standings. From last in London to first currently in Rio, this team is now a real medal contender.

"While there's possibilities and our goal is to medal, our focus is each game, every game, to finish that particular game," Bam said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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