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U.S. Women Still in Race for Medal

July 27, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ The U.S. women’s field hockey team has a clear mission for its last two round-robin games. It needs to at least tie first-place Australia on Sunday and defeat last-place Spain on Tuesday.

The Americans, forecast to win their first hockey medal since 1984, are in a three-way tie for fifth place in the eight-team field with one victory, two losses and two ties. Only the top four teams advance.

Britain also is 1-2-2, and Argentina also has four points in the standings at 2-3-0. Germany has five points with a 2-2-1 mark.

In women’s field hockey, the first-place team plays the second-place for the gold and silver medals, while the third- and fourth-place teams meet for the bronze. The first tiebreaker for the medal round is point differential, and the United States is in good position there.

The Americans are minus-1 in point differential, while Britain is minus-5 and Argentina minus-9. Germany is plus-1. The first tiebreaker for the medal round is point differential.

``We don’t feel we’re out of it,″ U.S. coach Pam Hixon said. ``But we feel like we almost have an extra point because of the differential.″

But the Americans’ 1-1 tie with Germany on Friday didn’t help.

Melanie Cremer’s goal in the third minute gave Germany the lead.

The United States got no shots off in the first half, but Cindy Werley of Allentown, Pa., tied the score in the 54th minute.

``We played two different games within the same 70 minutes,″ Hixon said. ``We were flat in the first half until we got our legs underneath us.″

The U.S. men, meanwhile are the only team in the 12-team men’s field without a win or a tie in four games, and Friday night’s 7-1 loss to undefeated Spain was the most embarrassing yet.

Spain, the first-place team in men’s Pool A, took a 3-0 lead at halftime en route. In its four games, the Americans have been outscored 13-0 in first halves to fall to 0-23-4 in Olympic history.

Spain, which has the only perfect record among the 12 teams, got two goals each from Pablo Amat and Juan Escarre.

Nick Butcher of Simi Valley, Calif., scored the only goal for the United States.

The U.S. men have one round-robin game remaining: on Sunday, against a strong German team.

U.S. coach Jon Clark said that along with all of his team’s problems, it’s starting to get the worst of the officiating.

``There were two pathetic calls at 1-0 and 3-1, and what makes it really difficult to take is that the technical table (sideline officials) apologized to me for the calls and said they understand our frustration,″ he said.

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