Kassey Kallman of the U.S. fights for the ball with Ghana's Alice Danso during their soccer match at the Women's U20 World Cup at Hiroshima Big Arch stadium in Hiroshima, Japan. The U.S. won 4-0. (Aug. 20, 2012) Photo Credit: AP
HIROSHIMA, Japan -- Maya Hayes scored a hat trick to lead the United States to a 4-0 victory over Ghana in its opening Group D match at the women's under-20 World Cup on Monday.
The Americans took a 1-0 lead when Morgan Brian's header hit the crossbar and bounced in after hitting Ghana defender Kinda Addai for an own goal in the 20th minute.
Hayes doubled the lead five minutes into the second half, heading in a cross from Kealia Ohai, and made it 3-0 in the 74th with a right-footed shot from just outside the box.
Hayes completed her hat trick two minutes into injury time when she chipped goalkeeper Patricia Mantey to score her 15th goal in international play.
"It's always exciting to come into an atmosphere like this," Hayes said. "It was great to get three goals, but I couldn't have done it without the help of my teammates. This team brings out the best in me."
The United States, one of the tournament favorites, is looking to build on the success of its senior women's team, which won the gold medal at the London Olympics.
"We came away with the result we wanted today and I couldn't be happier for Maya," U.S. coach Steve Swanson said.
"She has worked very hard and showed the explosiveness she has."
The Americans, who won this tournament in 2002 and 2008, will next play China on Aug. 23 before wrapping up group play against defending champion Germany on Aug. 27 in Miyagi.
In Kobe, Kim Un Hwa and Kim Su Gyong scored in the second half to lead North Korea to a 4-2 win over Norway in a Group C match.
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