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USWNT Clinches Spot in Challenger Trophy Final at FIH Hockey5s World Cup

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MUSCAT, Oman – For a spot in the Challenger Trophy Final at the FIH Hockey5s World Cup in Muscat, Oman on the line, the U.S. Women’s National Team took on Australia. After a close first half, USA went on to claim the 8-4 win, powered by four goals from Linnea Gonzales (Bel Air, Md.).

“I think we started off really sloppy, but I am really proud of our team for cleaning it up at the end,” said Charlotte de Vries (Malvern, Pa.), following the game. “Obviously we were hoping to make the quarterfinals, but now we have a new goal in mind and we want to win this Challenger Trophy.”

"I am proud of the way that the team responded in the second half," added Rachel Dawson, Hockey5s USWNT Head Coach. "We started to combine in attack, and play with tempo and intensity. We need to bring that energy tomorrow."

In a tight first half, USA held the slight advantage in shots. Two minutes in, the red, white and blue took the lead when Gonzales buried a forehand shot into the far corner. Play was static for a period before Australia capitalized on their first shot in the 7th minute through Jessica Moffat. Three minutes later, Australia briefly took the lead when Holly Gilbar laid out on the turf to sweep it in, but moments later Jans Croon (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) put in the rebound off Cassie Sumfest’s (Lewisburg, Pa.) shot. Just before the break, Gonzales converted on a challenge to regain the 3-2 lead. As time ticked down, Australia applied late pressure, forcing goalkeeper Kealsie Robles (Yorktown, Pa.) to make a diving stick save and Gonzales to make a clear off the goal line.

At the start of the second, Alyssa Klebasko (Odenton, Md.) checked in to goal. USA didn’t waste time and within the first 3 minutes added two more to their lead – the first through Gonzales and the next De Vries. Australia got two quick scores in succession to bring it within one at 5-4, but the United Eagles finished the match with three unanswered. The first came in the 27th minute when Abigail Burnett (Zionsville, Pa.) used individual skill to beat two defenders and then the goalkeeper. A minute later, De Vries sent a backhand into the far and then a minute following that, Gonzales finished a forehand shot to make the final 8-4.

USA will face Namibia for the Challenger Trophy (9th-10th) tomorrow, Saturday, January 27 at 3:40 a.m. ET.

For more information regarding the FIH Hockey5s World Cup Oman, visit the eventpage.

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