SPOKANE, Wash. –
The last second loss to Germany at the 2019 World Military Games still lingered in the minds of the American players going into their CISM matchup with Germany. In that 2019 contest in Wuhan, China, the U.S. fell in the 94th minute on a late goal by the Germans.
“That was fuel for a lot of the returners,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Morgan Roberts, after her team defeated Germany 2-1 Friday night before a crowd of 2,000 at Spokane’s Union Stadium. “You don’t get that feeling often, so even three years removed, that was definitely in the back of my head. When we were warming up, we remembered that feeling.”
The Americans (2-1) broke a 1-1 tie in the 64th minute Friday, when returning players Roberts and Air Force Capt. Meredith Reisinger connected on passes to set up Roberts’ long kick to Marine Corps 1st Lt. Katie Gernsbacher on the right side. Gernsbacher knocked the ball past German keeper Gina-Marie Mitschke and kicked in her own deflection for game winner.
After Gernsbacher missed a similar opportunity late in the Cameroon game, trailing 2-1. The Marine fell short of finding the equalizer when she sent the ball over the keeper in that contest but shot wide.
“I think I rewatched the Cameroon game six times,” Gernsbacher said. “I had a very similar play and I knew what I wanted to do if I ever got that opportunity.”
Gernsbacher, the lone Marine on the U.S. roster created numerous scoring chances throughout the contest Friday, and nearly collapsed at the final buzzer. Gernsbacher, after not starting the first game vs. Belgium, has worked her way into the starting rotation.
“Katie is the reason we won the game,” Roberts said. “Katie absolutely put her heart and soul into [the game].”
“I fed off all the girls’ energy,” said Gernsbacher, who competed for Texas and North Texas in college. “I knew I had the support of the team behind me.”
With the victory, the U.S. remains in contention for the CISM championship. The win puts the U.S. in a three-way tie with Germany and Cameroon, who defeated the Americans 2-1 on July 13. The Americans outshot the Germans 13-1, the only shot allowed on a stoppage time penalty kick by Germany Officer 5 Sabrina Braunschweig in the first half.
“I’m really proud of the girls coming back from 48 hours ago suffering- a hard loss [to Cameroon] … and coming back dominating a game,” said U.S. coach and Air Force Col. Derrick Weyand.
The United States controlled much of the possession of the first half outshooting Germany 8-1, but missed several scoring chances.
The Americans got on the board first when Army 1st Lt. Haley Roberson stole the ball from a German player and sent a cross to Army Capt. Kailey Utley who kicked the ball into the left corner past Mitschke for a 1-0 U.S. lead.
In the 17th minute, Roberson broke through four German defenders to send a cross to Roberts who deflected the ball off a German to set up a corner kick. Roberts then fired a left-footed shot that went wide.
In the 19th minute, Air Force Capt. Jen Gillette, a defender and returning 2019 team member, sent the ball 30 yards to Utley, who had her breakaway stifled by Braunschweig. In the 20th minute, Roberts sent another shot attempt over the goal.
The U.S. narrowly missed another goal off a free kick in the 27th minute when Erin Speer missed a shot off a ball that ricocheted off the cross bar and the head of teammate Angela Karamanos.
Germany next takes on Cameroon at Sunday at 3:30 p.m. while the U.S. will battle Ireland on Tuesday at 7 p.m.