U.S. Field Hockey Ends Medal Chase With Lopsided Shutout Loss to South Africa
During these London Olympics, the United States field hockey team beat one of the top teams in the world in Argentina. But on Monday the team lost to one of the worst in South Africa 7-0.
The South Africans were winless before the match and had scored only two goals. The U.S., which had hopes of medaling this time around, finished eighth in the 2008 Olympics. Even with seven returning veterans, including three Tar Heels, the best the Americans can finish is 11th. They play Friday morning to determine 11th and 12th places.
The U.S. goalkeeper, former Tar Heel Amy Tran Swensen ’02, had been a star for the Americans as she kept her team in every game. The three losses suffered by the U.S. before this game had all been by just one goal.
But the South Africans scored four goals in the first half — twice as many goals as they had in their first four games. Swensen faced pressure the entire game as the pressing South Africa team received 10 penalty corner shots.
Two of South Africa’s goals involved Illse Davids ’09, who played with U.S. players Amy Falgowski ’11 and Rachel Dawson ’07 at UNC, including on the team that won a national championship in 2007.
In the first half, Davids got the ball deep in U.S. territory on a turnover. After her shot was blocked by Swensen, she passed to teammate Jen Wilson on the other side of the goal for the score, making it 3-0.
In the second half, on a penalty corner play, South African Dirkie Chamberlain scored on a rebound assist off the stick of Davids to make it 6-0.
— Clifton Barnes ’82