The final road trip of the FIH Pro League season didn't have the desired outcome for the U.S. women's field hockey team.
Holding the Americans to just two shots in the game, China scored twice in the third quarter en route to a 4-0 victory at Changzhou's Wujin Hockey Stadium on Saturday.
For China, the win closes out the Pro League season and moves the squad into seventh place in the standings ahead of Great Britain and the U.S., which remains in last place with one more game to play.
"I think we fought really hard but lacked a little finesse in our basic skills today," U.S. coach Janneke Schopman said via a team release. "Our biggest take away will be that despite the circumstances, we can still play our own game and do our own jobs first, not trying to do too much."
After dropping a 3-1 decision to the Americans at Spooky Nook last month, No. 10 China came out firing on Saturday. The host squad had three shots and three corners in the opening quarter, but two were deflected over the top of the goal while the other corner attempt was turned away by Warwick graduate Alyssa Manley.
The pressure continued in the second period, with U.S. goalie Kelsey Bing making a pair of big saves in the 20th minute. China would find the back of the net before halftime, however.
Using quick passes, China got the ball up field to Li Jiaqi at the edge of the circle. She then spun to her left and slid the ball forward to Pen Yang by the left post for the final push over the goal line with just over a minute on the clock.
The action picked right up after halftime, with Bing diving to stop two shots on scrambles on front of the cage. Li Hong then intercepted a pass near the 25-yard-line and sped through the defense, but her backhander lofted over the crossbar.
China would get its second goal a minute later. Taking advantage of her team's fifth corner, Gu Bingfeng sent a low drag flick into the right corner of the cage.
The Chinese lead would grow to 3-0 in the 40th minute as Zhang Xiaoxue sent a rocket across the goal and clanging into the left side of the backboard.
No. 12 Team USA opted to make a change in goal, bringing in Jess Jecko, and finally seemed to get something going offensively. Both U.S. shots came in the 44th minute, starting with a backhander from Erin Matson that was saved, but earned the Americans their only corner of the game.
Captain Kat Sharkey fired a straight shot that was also turned away by Chinese goalie Li Dongxiao, but the rebound bounced out to Matson. Standing by the left post, the midfielder swept the ball into the open corner of the cage, but there was no goal as the ball hit her foot before the shot.
Instead, the next goal came a minute into the fourth quarter. Xiaoxue brought the ball up from midfield and found Gu Qiu alone on the right side for the quick flip past Jecko to put the game away.
Xiaoxue earned Player of the Match honors, while the game also marked a milestone for Team USA's Kelly Marks, who earned her first international cap.
Team USA returns to Lancaster for its final Pro League game next week. The Americans will host FIH No. 5 Germany at the Nook Saturday, June 22 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are still available at USAFieldHockey.com and the game will be streamed online by Bleacher Report Live.