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Tense FIH Hockey Pro League Match Sees USWNT Fall to India

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BHUBANESWAR, India – Both hungry for their first win of the new FIH Hockey Pro League season, the No. 12 U.S. Women’s National Team and No. 8 India faced off in Bhubaneswar, India. In a tense game, India capitalized on their chances to defeat the United Eagles, 3-1.

One month ago, the USWNT took a 1-0 victory over India in their first match of the FIH Hockey Qualifier that propelled them to an eventual qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Today, both India and USA were fighting to secure a win after three straight Pro League losses.

USA goalkeeper Kealsie Robles (Seaford, Va.) was called to action early, stopping a shot 90 seconds in, as India earned an ensuing penalty corner that was sent wide. USA answered back with their own attack, as Beth Yeager (Greenwich, Conn.) dribbled into the circle and took a shot on that was saved. Mirroring India, the United Eagles also picked up their first set piece, but a mistrap at the top allowed India’s defense to intercept. A mishandled ball by USA in the center gave India another look in the circle, but Karlie Kisha (Hamburg, Pa.) dribbled out of danger. At minute 9, a shot deflected high off the pad of Robles was tapped in out of the air by the India attack, giving India a 1-0 advantage. Play continued with both sides swapping possession in the midfield, and India led 1-0 after the first frame.

The second quarter saw Yeager again push into the attacking circle for USA, firing off a reverse shot that was blocked. India transitioned quickly, finding themselves in front of USA’s cage as Leah Crouse (Virginia Beach, Va.) calmly earned a free hit out. At minute 21, the United Eagles had their best look thus far, as Maddie Zimmer (Hershey, Pa.) dribbled up the center and sent a ball in to Yeager, whose hit in was touched by Charlotte De Vries (Malvern, Pa.) but stopped by India’s goalkeeper. India doubled their lead 26 minutes in when Deepika sent a reverse chip into the top left of the cage above Robles’ reach.

Dribbling through two defenders, Sanne Caarls (Nieuw-Vennep, Netherlands) got off a reverse shot that was saved by India’s goalkeeper but gave USA another penalty corner chance. Unsuccessful on the attempt, USA trailed 2-0 heading into halftime.

It was India who took control early in the third, pushing into their attacking circle. 3 minutes into the frame, India earned a penalty corner, where the shot was sent wide. For the next few minutes, USA did well to keep India out of the circle, until their opponent finally broke free with another set piece chance at minute 38. The mistrap at the top gave USA a chance push up, as their transition up the field resulted in a reverse shot from De Vries that was blocked. Continued pressure from Zimmer and De Vries landed the United Eagles an attacking penalty corner, but the shot from Yeager was deemed dangerous.

Entering the game at the start of the quarter, Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas) stopped India from adding to their tally on a dangerous chance at minute 41. Soon after, the United Eagles made the most of Bing’s heroics by taking the ball up and scoring off a reverse shot from Caarls. The tally had India leading 2-1 after the third frame.

Both teams increased their intensity in the final quarter. A penalty corner for India just a few minutes in was called out for danger, but USA sent their free hit back to India, who made their way into the circle with speed. Jillian Wolgemuth (Mount Joy, Pa.) stepped up in a big way to clear it out. With five minutes left, India countered all the way up the pitch, ending with a tip into the goal from Salima Tete. India once again led by two goals, with a score of 3-1. In a final effort, Brooke Deberdine (Millersville, Pa.) sent a ball into the circle to De Vries, who couldn’t quite find the footing needed to take the shot. A tense final minute winded down as India picked up their first win of the Pro League season, 3-1, over USA.

Following the game, India’s Deepika was named Player of the Match.

 

Next, the United Eagles will travel to Rourkela, India for the second leg of the FIH Hockey Pro League to take on No. 1 Netherlands on February 12 at 7:00 a.m. ET. All matches of the FIH Hockey Pro League can be streamed pay-per-view on Watch.Hockey for $5.99.

For more information regarding the 2023-24 FIH Hockey Pro League, visit the event page

#FIHProLeague | #HockeyInvites

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