US women’s field hockey tops India, could top pool

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The U.S. women’s field hockey team took care of business. Now, the Americans can focus on their showdown with Britain.

Katie Bam scored two goals, and the U.S. defeated India 3-0 Thursday night to improve to 4-0 in Pool B. Britain also remained unbeaten with a 2-0 win over Japan on Thursday. The teams meet Saturday to determine who tops the group.

“It’s nice to know we’ve solidified our quarterfinal spot,” Bam said. “Our goal now is to win the pool, and that all happens in that one game.”

Because of goal differential, the United States would win the pool with a draw. The United States is plus 10, while Britain is plus 7.

It’s a stunning opportunity for the United States, which hasn’t medaled since 1984. The Americans beat Australia in the third-place match at the Champions Trophy event in June, setting the tone for their unlikely run. The squad got off to a strong start at the Olympics by knocking off No. 2 Argentina and No. 3 Australia in its first two matches.

The Americans followed those eye openers with a 6-1 victory over Japan on Wednesday. Bam scored three goals to tie a U.S. record for an Olympic women’s match.

“Katie’s a prolific goal scorer and has been for many years,” U.S. coach Craig Parnham said. “She’s one of a great group of forwards and midfield players that we have. It’s wonderful for us that she’s been able to score goals and create opportunities.”

After setting a team record for goals in an Olympic match against Japan, the Americans continued their high-quality play against India. Bam scored in the first and third periods, and Melissa Gonzalez added a goal in the fourth. Goalie Jackie Briggs notched her first shoutout of the games against India after allowing a single goal in each of the team’s first three matches.

“You never quite know how you’re going to move until you get here,” Parnham said. “The team’s doing well. They’re in a good place right now. Another three points tonight is important for us.”

In other Pool B action to be played Saturday, Argentina will need at least a draw against India to advance. Australia punched its ticket to the quarterfinals with a 1-0 win over Argentina on Thursday.


Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter @CliffBruntAP .

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