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U.S. beats host nation to get to Pan Am semis

The United States under-17 national field hockey team defeated Uruguay 3-2 Tuesday night in Montevideo, Uruguay to advance to the semifinal round of the 2010 Youth Pan American Championship.

For the third time in three matches in Uruguay, Lakeland junior Kelsey Smither started for the U.S. as a defender.

Uruguay came into the match with a 2-0 record and needing a win or a draw to advance instead of the U.S.

The U.S. scored in the fifth minute to open the scoring. The Americans scored less than four minutes into the second half to make it 2-0 and in the 56th minute to make it 3-1. Two of the three U.S. goals came on penalty corners.

“For an under-17 team to handle a very hostile environment and boisterous crowd and come away with a 3-2 win is tremendous,” said U.S. head coach Shellie Onstead.

“It bodes well for the future of U.S.A. Field Hockey,” Onstead said.

The U.S. will face Argentina in the semifinals Thursday. Argentina moved through pool play with a 3-0 record and with its closest match being a 5-1 win against Canada. Chile and Canada make up the other semfinal.