The United States defeated Italy 15-10 on day three of the Long Beach exhibition series, making it two wins in three days for the home team against their Italian visitors.
The United States were led offensively by Jordan Raney (2), Ryan Neushul (2), Jenna Flynn (2), and Jovan Sekulic (2), while Amanda Longan was outstanding between the pipes, with thirteen saves.
The United States has now defeated the Italians in all four of their meetings in 2022.
During a three-minute stretch in the third quarter, the United States scored a trio goals in incredibly rapid succession, completely altering the course of the game. The Italians were left chasing the game, but the three-peat Olympic Champions held out for the win.
The Italians more than held their own in the first sixteen minutes of the game, converting well, and keeping the United States at bay. However, they were blown out of the water by their hosts in the third, and unable to pull it back in the fourth, despite an excellent three goals from Roberta Bianconi in the final eight minutes.
Adam Krikorian might well have found his latest solution at centre-forward, with yet another excellent performance by Serbian-born Jovana Sekulic, who was marvellous at centre and deadly on the right wing too with her left arm.
The Americans face Spain tomorrow in the final game of the exhibition series in Long Beach.
United States 15 – 10 Italy (3-3, 2-2, 6-1, 4-4)
United States: A. Johnson, E. Ausmus 2, T. Prentice 1, R. Fattal 1, J.Sekulic 2, M. Steffens, J. Roemer 1, R. Neushul 2, D. Mammolito 1, J. Flynn 2, B. Weber 1, J. Raney 2, A. Longan, E. Lineback, E. Woodhead
Italy: A. Condorelli, C. Tabani 1, G. Galardi 1, S. Avegno, S. Giustini 2, D. Bettini 1, D. Picozzi, R. Bianconi 4, L. Cergol, C. Marletta 1, A. Cocchiere, G. Viacava, C. Banchelli, V. Gant
After one period, the score stood at 3-3.
It took just two minutes for Ryan Neushul to put Italy behind by shoving the ball home, but the Setterosa responded with three unanswered goals: a long-range extra-player shot from Bianconi, a lob from Tabani, and a penalty kick from Dafne Bettini.
Italy’s hard work in the quarter was undone by two goals in the final 45 seconds: Princeton’s left-hander Jovana Sekulic scored at centre, and then an excellent 6m shot from Rachel Fattal brought the scores even.
The game progressed following the same pattern in the second period, with both sides unable to shake each other.
Like in the first quarter, Neushul started the scoring in the second by putting the finishing touches on a beautiful offensive play. Both of Italy’s subsequent goals were scored by SIS Roma players; Giuditta Galardi finished off a powerful backshot, and Sofia Giustini unleashed a rocket from the top. The score was tied at five going into half-time after a quick right-side cross-cage shot from Jordan Raney.
The third period was decisive in the contest, with the United States burying the Setterosa with some ruthless offensive play that put the reigning World Champions in total control of the game.
Claudia Marletta’s penalty score cancelled out Bayley Weber’s earlier extra-player score, but Team USA went on a deadly scoring spree over the next two minutes: Jordan Raney, Emily Ausmus and Jenna Flynn all added quick scores to put Adam Krikorian’s team up by three (9-6).
While Italy momentarily stopped the American’s from scoring, Tara Prentice, on her birthday, took the USA to double-digits, before Emily Ausmus added her second goal of the game from a 5m penalty to conclude a horrible quarter for the Setterosa.
A hat-trick fro Roberta Bianconi was not enough for the Italians to get themselves back in the match, with a narrow-angle goal from Jewel Roemer, an excellent finish at centre from Jovana Sekulic, a cute lob from Jenna Flynn, and a powerful near-side bounce from Denise Mammolito.
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