U-21 USWNT Captures Win Over Zimbabwe in Junior World Cup
by USA Field Hockey
IMAGES COURTESY OF WORLD SPORT PICS & FIH
POTCHEFSTROOM, South Africa – The U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team was met with rainy conditions when they faced Zimbabwe in their second pool game of the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup, taking place at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa. After a slow start, USA found pace and scored four goals in the second half, all coming from Hope Rose (Dauphin, Pa.), to capture the 5-0 win.
"I think [the team] responded really well," said Tracey Paul, U-21 USWNT Head Coach, following the game. "I think we started playing a small passing game and played collective hockey with multiple involvements."
Zimbabwe held the upper hand in the opening minutes of the first quarter, after generating several circle entries. After getting their rhythm, USA took over control and earned back-to-back penalty corners. The first attempt was a drag by Carolina Ramsey (Morristown, N.J.) that was saved by Zimbabwe goalkeeper Jenna Mathieson, while the second was as sweep from Gracyn Banks (Burlington, N.J.) that went too high. Zimbabwe shifted to a half-field press, putting all their athletes below the ball. This tight structure limited USA’s forward attack as the quarter played out scoreless.
Similar to the first, Zimbabwe opened the frame with a close chance when a backhand shot was tipped wide near the post. USA immediately regained possession and resumed their threatening offense. In the 19th minute, quick passing led to a USA penalty corner that saw Ramsey’s drag go wide but Rose was on the end of it and got a shot off. The red, white and blue’s persistence paid off and in the 23rd minute when Ashley Sessa (Schwenksville, Pa.) turned and shot a knee height ball that was deflected in out of the air by Charlotte de Vries (Malvern, Pa.) to give USA the 1-0 lead. This opening goal set the pace for USA as resuming shots came from Lauren Wadas (Annville, Pa.) with a backhand and Josie Varney (Smithfield, Maine) on the deflection, but they couldn’t tally anymore in the second quarter as they held a 1-0 halftime lead.
To start the third, USA immediately went on the attack and sharpened their passing to be more precise. Zimbabwe continued to remain solid on defense and a stop at the top of the circle, not allowing the entry, led to a counterattack. After winning a free hit just outside their circle, Zimbabwe earned their first penalty corner and the shot by Simone Herbst was saved by USA goalkeeper Annabel Skubisz (Houston, Texas). A close chance came for Zimbabwe in the 35th minute when Tinodiwanashe Elijah was on a break away and her turning pass went cross the goal untouched and was clinically followed out by Skubisz. On the resuming play, De Vries used a quick restart to get it into the circle where Katie Dixon (Cary, N.C.) laid out and got a touch on it, but it went wide. Determined to extend the lead, USA did just that adding two more goals in a four-minute span. The first came in the 39th minute when Emma DeBerdine (Millersville, Pa.) drove down the right side and passed it into the circle where Rose beat out her defender to deflect it in. Next, after a Zimbabwe green card, Wadas got a stick on the outlet and her and Rose used a give and go combination to get into the circle and Rose finished to make it 3-0.
USA maintained possession for much of the fourth quarter and produced two more goals. The first came in the 48th minute when USA earned a penalty stroke after a penalty corner went from Ramsey down to Rose who deflected it off the post into the Zimbabwe defender. Rose calm stepped up and converted to record her hat trick. In the 55th minute, the exact same penalty corner option was well-executed scored again by Rose to make it 5-0. USA went on to earn two more penalty corners in the final minutes but couldn’t capitalize against as they held on for the win.
Following the game, USA’s Hope Rose was named Player of the Match for her four goals contributing in today's win.
"Something we focus on every practice is having our attack 25 movement and being able to distract the defense," commented Rose, when asked about the open space and being comfortable in the forward part of the field.
USA has tomorrow off but return to the pitch Monday, April 4 for their final pool game against Canada at 11:30 a.m. ET.
For more information regarding the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World, visit the event page.
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