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Spirited England beaten by USA in California

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Team England Women put up a strong performance against World Champions USA but a third quarter shut out took the game away from the visitors after leading midway through the first-half.

After going behind early, England then led 6-4 with 6:45 to play in the first-half, before a ruthless nine-goal streak either side of half-time stole away the initiative as the USA finished up 14-8 winners.

The match-up was the first meeting since the 2017 World Cup semi-final, won 19-8 by the US, and the very first 10 a-side encounter between the sides.

And it was the USA who got off to a flyer; Kerrigan Miller, Kayla Treanor and Michelle Tumolo gave them a 0-3 advantage just five minutes into the game, forcing Phil collier into calling an early timeout.

However, the break had just the desired effect with Olivia Hompe securing a good groundball off a hotly-contested draw and passing off to Laura Merrifield who surged past two defenders to finish low in the corner.

From this point on England and in particular, Megan Whittle, took centre stage. After drawing a cross-check, Whittle scored her first from the resulting free position, before then receiving a feed from Merrifield after she was fouled to tie the game at 3-3 at the end of Q1.

Meanwhile, Katie Greenwood made two point-blank saves during that period to keep the US at bay and springboard a strong start to the second quarter.

Whittle tallied her third with a strong run and dodge to put England ahead for the first time and, despite Molly Hendricks levelling, another two goals gave the girls a 6-4 advantage.

First, a quick transition from a turnover saw a long midfield pass from Hompe find Whittle perfectly in her stride, which she rocketed in to restore the lead.

And from the following draw, Whittle again claimed the groundball and a good combination from Merrifield to Emily Gray and finally to Hompe who finished well on the turn, put England in a healthy position.

However, this sparked the US into life from then on and goals from Sam Apuzzo, Kylie Ohlmiller and Katie Haus gave them a 6-7 lead at the break.

In the fashion we’ve become accustomed to with this USA side, their relentless pressure in attack continued after the interval as they put down six unanswered goals in the third quarter.

Katrina Dowd got the home side going with an outrageous BTB goal, followed by efforts from Emily Parros, Taylor Cummings, two more for Treanor and another for Dowd to make it 6-13 at the end of Q3.

Nevertheless, England continued to battle until the end, taking the final quarter 2-1 as Claire Faram halted the nine-goal run with a solo effort, coming in from the top of the 11 and scoring low.

Ally Kennedy added another for USA before Jenny Simpson closed out the scoring, resisting strong defensive pressure with her back to goal and underarming it through the goalie’s legs to make it 8-14 and round off the match.

England Points: Megan Whittle (4,0), Olivia Hompe (1,1), Laura Merrifield (1,1), Claire Faram (1,0), Jenny Simpson (1,0), Emily Gray (0,1)