Sports

Penalty kicks hurt USA at 20-under World Cup

Nigeria women advance to the semifinals for the first time in its history

The United States Under-20 Women's National Team had plenty of opportunities to win its World Cup quarterfinal soccer match Sunday against Nigeria.

Nigeria tied the match at 1-1 in the 79th minute of regulation and went on to advance into the semifinals on penalty kicks, 4-2, in a contest that drew 7,135 fans in Augsberg, Germany.

The USA has been involved in three penalty shoot-outs in FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup history, and each time they have finished on the losing side.

Nigeria and Korea Republic, which beat Mexico, 3-1, in a quarterfinal in Dresden, advanced to the Final Four for the first time.

The U.S. took 24 shots, including 15 on goal, and held a 16-7 advantage on corner kicks. The Americans also had to contend with the 26 fouls called on Nigeria.

The officials issued four yellow cards to the Africans in addition to the 26 fouls. The U.S. was called for just five fouls, but one of those free kicks led to Nigeria's goal.

"I'm just very proud of our players today," U.S. coach Jill Ellis said. "I thought they battled, but we met a very talented and very challenging opponent. I thought our back line was strong, I thought the goal we got was terrific and the goal from Nigeria … there's just not a lot we can do about that. It was a world class strike."

Stanford sophomore Rachel Quon was a defensive stalwart for the Americans, which scored in the ninth minute for the early advantage.

Midfielder Amber Brooks scored following a corner kick from the left side. Zakiya Bywaters played it short to Kristie Mewis, who dribbled toward the edge of the six-yard box and passed to the crashing Brooks, who re-directed the ball into the net

In the 21st minute, Quon took a free kick that bounced off the goalkeeper's chest.

The U.S. had its best chance of the first overtime when substitute Maya Hayes beat two players into the right side of the box and dribbled straight at the near post, but couldn't find a U.S. attacker in a crowded penalty area.

Meg Morris had a one-on-one chance in the right side of the penalty box, but shot right at the goalkeeper in the 112th minute.

One minute later, Mewis hit a shot that crashed off the middle of the crossbar and a minute after that, a header from Brooks off a corner kick was just pushed over the bar.

"I told them every experience here they need to take with them because they all have dreams of being on the full team as well, and this is part of this process," Ellis said. "This level is about a desire to compete and win world championships, but it's also about their development. I think these players have definitely learned and lot for this experience. I told them there will be another game for them."

Stanford sophomore Alina Garciamendez played for Mexico, while Stanford's Courtney Verloo and Teresa Noyola went unused by the Americans.

Women's water polo

Stanford incoming freshman Kaley Dodson scored a goal as the U.S. Junior National team beat Australia, 7-5, Sunday to complete an undefeated run through the Four Nations Tournamet in Los Alamitos.

The U.S beat Canada, 7-5, on Saturday with Stanford sophomore Kate Baldoni recording seven saves in goal.

Softball

The U.S. national team dropped a 5-2 decision to Canada on Sunday in the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City.

The Americans (4-1) had clinched a spot in Monday's championship game on Saturday. The U.S. and Japan meet for the title, while Canada and the US Futures team play for third place.

Baseball

Chinese Taipei turned four hits in the sixth inning into a pair of runs to beat the U.S. Collegiate national team, 3-1, Sunday at Hsinchuang Field in Taipei, ending the U.S. winning streak at nine games.

The teams play again Monday.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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