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In Field Hockey, American Women Striking Late, Men Failing Early

July 23, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ Bad starts are leading to bad results for the U.S. men’s field hockey team.

The Americans trailed 5-0 at halftime Monday night against Argentina, and went on to lose 5-2. The U.S. team lost its opener to Pakistan 4-0 after falling behind 3-0 at the half.

``We are starting stationary. Actually we are starting in reverse. Actually, we’ve fallen into the ocean after dropping 120 feet off a cliff,″ U.S. coach Jon Clark said after Monday’s loss.

Argentina, which improved to 2-0 in Pool A, built a big halftime lead and cruised the rest of the way.

The Americans are now 0-2 in the 1996 Olympics and 0-21-4 in Olympic history.

``We tried various things to get us going, but nothing is working,″ Clark said. ``We have to get past the emotion of playing before big crowds.″

About 5,000 people cheered the U.S. team at Morris Brown College. Clark said his players aren’t used to such big crowds.

Field hockey players in the United States ``usually are playing in front of three men and a dog, and the dog is there because one of the men is blind,″ he said.

Jennings said second-half goals by Marq Mellor and Steve Jennings provided little consolation for the U.S. squad.

``You can play all the great second halves in the world, but it does no good if you don’t play well in the first half,″ Jennings said. ``I’m not big on moral victories.″

The U.S. women’s team is faring much better than the men. The women defeated South Korea 3-2 Monday on a last-minute goal by Barb Marois.

``It was an emotional roller-coaster of a game, but now we have a huge victory under our belts,″ Marois said. ``We are ranked No. 3 in the world and, if we keep playing as we played today, there’s a chance we can get the title.″

The U.S. women also scored late in their opening match to tie the Netherlands 1-1.

In another women’s game Monday, Australia improved to 2-0 by overpowering Argentina 7-1 with three goals from Alyson Annan.

In men’s play, Spain remained unbeaten with a 3-0 shutout of defending bronze medalist Pakistan. Spain has not allowed a goal in its first two games. India and Germany tied 1-1, leaving both teams with 0-1-1 records.

Jorge Lombi and Fernando Ferrara scored twice each in the first half for Argentina, and Otto Steffers added another goal before halftime.

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