U-21 USWNT Finish Tenth at 2023 FIH Hockey Women’s JWC After Shootout Loss to India
SANTIAGO, Chile – It was a tough final match at the 2023 FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup for the No. 5 U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team, who finished tenth after falling to No. 6 India. Spending most of the match tied with their opponent, the Junior Eagles eventually fell in sudden victory shootouts.
After not making it out into the top bracket despite strong showings in pool play, both teams came out to the pitch with something to prove. India started to put offensive pressure first, but USA was finally able to get out of traffic after a step-up from Jans Croon (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) in the center. A few errors from each side evened out in the mid-field, showing the fatigue of a full tournament.
As the two settled, USA found themselves more on the defending end. USA goalkeeper Annabel Skubisz (Houston, Texas) made her first save of the match 11 minutes in, but India was subsequently awarded a penalty corner. Despite Skubisz making the initial save, India notched their first goal off a rebound to take a 1-0 lead. Save for a USA penalty corner with two seconds remaining that sailed wide, India enjoyed possession for much of the remainder of the first quarter, keeping their 1-0 lead.
It was more possession passing from India to start the second frame, but a steal from Olivia Bent-Cole (Philadelphia, Pa.) in the midfield got a glimmer of offense going for the red, white and blue. Unable to create any chances, India was back on the attack, as Skubisz made another save at the 17-minute mark. India picked up another set piece opportunity, but the USA defense blocked the shot and transitioned up the field. Finally, USA were able to find some sustained possession, as Josie Hollamon (Delmar, Del.) sent an aerial into the circle that was touched by Hope Rose (Dauphin, Pa.), but saved by India’s goalkeeper.
After some more competitive play, Kiersten Thomassey sent a pass up to Dani Mendez-Trendler (Reistertown, Md.), then made a run up into the circle to finish in the cage off an assist from Mendez-Trendler. At 27 minutes, the match was tied 1-1, and stayed that way into halftime.
Both teams picked up the energy entering the third frame, needing to break the stalemate. India made moves first, forcing Skubisz to make a save early on. Soon, it was India again who was finding connecting passes up the field, as USA worked defensively. With 8 minutes left in the quarter, Skubisz stepped up again to be two back-to-back saves. India’s continued pressure paid off, earning them set piece chance that was saved and cleared by Skubisz. Katie Dixon (Cary, N.C.) relieved USA of pressure for a moment with a clear to Bent-Cole, who was able to break into the circle. USA was unable to capitalize, and India was right back with pressure – gaining an advantage as USA was shown a yellow card. The match stayed tied at 1-1 after the third quarter.
The sentiments from the first three quarters continued into the final frame, as India earned another penalty corner early on – a drag that went out wide. Lucy Adams (Andover, Mass.) created some space for USA with a pass right to Rayne Wright (Bethlehem, Pa.), but USA were not able to hold onto possession. With eight minutes left to play, Bent-Cole sent in a hard cross from the lefthand side, which hit the post off India’s pads, and was finished by Thomassey who stepped up in front of the cage. With the goal, USA claimed a 2-1 lead.
India earned a penalty corner at a critical time, with just under four minutes remaining. Skubisz continued her quality performance, making three saves on the set piece. A subsequent corner for India was what they needed, scoring off the rebound to tie the match, 2-2. USA pushed up after the restart into their attacking half, but India’s defense cleared it out, and transitioned up to earn another penalty corner with two minutes remaining. On the third repeat of the set piece, Abby Tamer (Whitmore Lake, Mich.) grabbed the ball at the top and USA’s defense cleared it out. A pass from Rose up to Mendez-Trendler looked promising, but USA could not hold possession. The final horn sounded with the match tied, 2-2, headed into shootouts.
India went first, missing their chance just wide of the cage. Up first for USA, Tamer also sent the ball to the same spot, just barely missing the goal. In India’s second attempt, Skubisz came up with two amazing saves, while Lauren Wadas (Annville, Pa.) was not able to tally for USA. For the third round, both India and USA’s Dixon scored, putting the score at 1-1. India’s fourth attempt hit the post and went out, while Bent-Cole sent a flawless backhand into the net to put USA up 2-1 after the fourth round. India bounced back in the final round, while Reagan Underwood (Sinking Springs, Pa.) was blocked – putting the score at another 2-2 tie.
The contest would then be determined by a sudden victory shootout. Wadas went first for USA, but her shot was blocked in an unbelievable effort from India’s goalkeeper. India was successful in their attempt, giving them the 3-2 shootout advantage and ninth place title.
Tomorrow, the 2023 FIH Hockey Women’s JWC final will take place at 5:15 p.m. ET between Netherlands and Argentina. This match and all others will be live streamed on watch.hockey.
For all information about #JWC2023, check out the event page.
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