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American Still O-For-Olympics In Field Hockey

August 2, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ The numbers illustrate the level of mediocre play that kept the U.S. men’s field hockey team winless in Olympic competition.

The team was outscored 30-4, didn’t score in the first half of any game and was shut out four times.

The seven losses stretched its overall record in the Olympics to 0-26-4.

Malaysia dealt the final insult with a 4-1 win Thursday.

The U.S. team now will wait four years for a chance to end the losing streak, but the work needed to get ready for 2000 in Sydney begins next month.

``We’re back in training the first of September,″ coach Jon Clark said. ``Such are the demands of modern hockey that there isn’t much time for sitting around with pizza, bad lights and moping. They’ve just got to get on with it.″

The loss to Malaysia left the United States last in the 12-team men’s field. Britain beat India 4-3 for seventh place Thursday and Argentina edged South Africa 3-2 for ninth.

Britain got second-half goals from Jason Laslett, Jon Wyatt and Chris Mayer to erase a 2-1 India lead. India got goals from Baljit Singh Dhillon and Baljeet Singh in the first half and a goal by Pargat Singh Powar with 39 seconds left in the game.

Jorge Lombi scored a penalty corner goal in the 25th minute of the second period to give Argentina the win over South Africa.

Clark, a native of England, took over as head coach of the U.S. team in February. It played well in competition leading up to the Olympics, including a win over Spain, which plays the Netherlands tonight for the gold medal.

But the good play didn’t carry over to Atlanta.

Against Malaysia (1-4-2), the U.S. dominated possession of the ball in the first half but missed all five shots. Malaysia broke the deadlock when Lim Chow Chuan scored with just over a minute left. Malaysia added three goals in the second period, and only Nick Butcher’s goal with 2:48 left in the game averted another shutout.

Between now and Sydney, the U.S. team will see plenty of international competition. Clark especially wants the team to play before large crowds in Europe and Asia.

``They’ll have to become more street wise,″ he said. ``It comes with maturity and exposure. Some of these guys have played 70 or 80 games, but not many of them in the oven. If we reward ourselves in October, you could say we’ve definitely gotten ourselves out of Division Three in international hockey.″

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