Investec World League 5th/6th Playoff: USA 6-0 Italy.

Paige Selenski scored a fantastic hat-trick to give the USA 5th place in this competition as Italy were blitzed by a ruthless Stars and Stripes in their final game.

USA led 1-0 at half time but ran riot in the second period as Italy’s exertions from the earlier games this week, finally caught up with them and they just didn’t have enough. 

The USA took the lead in the 11th minute, Jill Witmer popped up in the D to get a good deflection on a long pass to give Martina Chirico no chance.

Italy were struggling to contain the pace and energy of the USA and Michelle Kasold had a good chance to double the lead, blasting a reverse stick shot over the bar, before Selenski set up Katie O’Donnell whose slap shot was brilliantly saved by Chirico. Melissa Gonzalez wasted a gilt-edged opportunity at the far post as the ball struck her foot with the goal gaping.

With time running out in the half Italy forced a penalty corner but Chiara Tiddi’s slap was charged down by the defender.

It took the USA just eight minutes to make it 2-0 in the second half. Kasold showed terrific composure to latch on to a loose ball and lift a superb finish over the goalkeeper.

Two minutes later Selenski started her personal barrage of goals. In a goalmouth scramble the ball found its way to the USA No.21 who made no mistake and slotted home from close range.

Three minutes later, Selenski made it 4-0. She raced clear and collected a through ball with the defence trailing in her wake, as Chirico advanced to close her down Selenski hit an excellent reverse stick shot, whilst on the run and found the net.

Taylor had a wonderful chance to grab another as she broke clear and rounded Chirico on the top of the D, only to send her shot fizzing wide of the goal.

On 55 minutes, Selenski netted her hat-trick and USA’s fifth. Brimming with confidence she found a lovely finish from the left side of the D.

Chirico was keeping the score respectable with a good save from O’Donnell and then a superb piece of glove work to keep out Taylor but it was only a matter of time before the USA grabbed another goal.

They did just that with five minutes on the clock as Witmer’s shot was deflected into the net by Taylor for 6-0.

Italy looked out on their feet. Having continuously punched above their weight throughout the whole tournament they finally ran out of steam and the USA took full advantage. Coach Fernando Ferrarra will still be delighted with the week his team has had. Craig Parnham will be pleased at his team’s strong finish to the tournament, which hopefully gives him much to work with in the future.

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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