Women's Hockey Tournament Begins in Lima

(ATR) The United States opens with a win in a competition that means Olympic qualification for the winner.

LIMA, PERU - JULY 29: Ashley Hoffman of The United States and Michel Navarro fight for the ball of Mexico during a match between The United States and Mexico as part of women's hockey preliminaries pool WB at at Hockey Field of Complejo Deportivo Villa Maria del Triunfo on Day 3 of Lima 2019 Pan American Games on July 29, 2019 in Lima, Peru. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
LIMA, PERU - JULY 29: Ashley Hoffman of The United States and Michel Navarro fight for the ball of Mexico during a match between The United States and Mexico as part of women's hockey preliminaries pool WB at at Hockey Field of Complejo Deportivo Villa Maria del Triunfo on Day 3 of Lima 2019 Pan American Games on July 29, 2019 in Lima, Peru. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(ATR) Hockey fans gathered in the Complejo Deportivo Villa Maria Del Triunfo for the first day of competition for the sport at Lima 2019.

The United States opened against Mexico in the third match of the women's preliminaries.

Defense was tight for both teams, with neither team scoring a point in the first quarter. Eventually the USA was able to secure a 5-0 win.

Linnea Gonzales of the USA team says she thought that the match was a good start to the tournament, adding "We have been training together this whole year, it’s good to come out with a win."

Gonzales revealed that the team has been using pro-league games to build up for LIma 2019 since January.

The winners of the men's and women's tournament in Lima automatically qualify for Tokyo 2020.

When asked about getting into the next Summer Games, team captain Kathleen Sharkey told Around the Rings "I think we're just taking it one game at a time. We're trying to play to our potential in each of our matches and we’ll see where we will end up at the end of it.

"I think the Pan American region has been getting stronger and stronger every year there’s a lot of good teams in the competition. I think for us it’s just focusing on what we're doing and not getting distracted by outside factors."

Sharkey represented the United States as the flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony of the Pan American Games.

"It was very cool, it was something that wasn’t even on my radar just because a field hockey athlete from the United States never had that opportunity," she told ATR.

"So I just never thought it was something that I could have the opportunity to do. It was really special to represent Team USA and I’ll remember that forever."

Women's hockey made its Pan American Games debut in 1987, 20 years after the men's tournament entered the Pan American program.

The men's tournament begins on Tuesday.

Written by Greer Wilson in Lima

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