Missed Chances as USWNT Falls to England in FIH Hockey Pro League
by USA Field Hockey
Images Taken by Mark Palczewski
CHAPEL HILL, N.C – For the first time in more than 800 days, the No. 15 U.S. Women’s National Team hosted an FIH Hockey Pro League game in the United States at Karen Shelton Stadium on the campus of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. After a scoreless first half, No. 4 England tallied two in the third and another in the fourth before USA came back to cut the margin in the final minute but fell 3-1.
“Heading into tomorrow, I think it is important for us to know that the score didn’t reflect how we came out as a team,” said Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.), following the game. “I think we’re growing a lot; we are obviously very young, and we need to finish. It could have been 3-0 at one point and we will take that into tomorrow. We will continue with the energy and intensity.”
The first quarter started with a lot of back-and-forth possession with both teams looking to generate some attack. The 6th minute started a succession of penalty corners for USA but they were unable to find an outcome on all three. In the 11th minute, England utilized a fast break, tested USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas) and came up with a penalty corner of their own. Unable to score off the first chance, they earned another that was saved off the post by Ally Hammel (Duxbury, Mass.) to keep the score deadlocked.
USA started generating more attack as their first good look came when Ashley Sessa (Schwenksville, Pa.) picked the pass off the top of the circle and tried to push it ahead to Matson but it was instead met by England goalkeeper Sabbie Heesh. Moments later, Julianna Tornetta (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) sent a baseline pass toward goal, but it was cleared by Heesh. On the following play, Matson contested Heesh and immediately England took it the other way when Darcy Bourne sent a cross just wide of the post that missed a diving teammate. The halftime score stood at 0-0.
To start the second half, USA made a goalkeeper substitution bringing in Kealsie Robles (Seaford, Va.). The red, white and blue had two close chances, a shot by Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.) and then a cross by Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.) that went untouched. England generated momentum and in the 36th minute earned a penalty corner. Off chance, Hollie Pearne-Webb buried a straight sweep into the corner to give England a 1-0 lead. Six minutes later, England doubled their lead off a fast break goal when Bourne ran the right baseline and dropped it back to Elena Rayer who one-time swept it into the net.
Although down two goals, USA came out with intensity in the final quarter generating two circle entries right from the start. Magadan used great individual skill to get into the circle and get it to Hope Rose (Dauphin, Pa.) but when she tried to tee up her shot it was touched away and on the resuming play, Tornetta passed it ahead to Matson in the circle but couldn’t find an outcome. In the 55th minute, England made the most of a 6v4 situation toward goal and capitalized on a penalty corner. Off the chance, Grace Balsdon sent a drag high into the to extend the lead to 3-0. With a never give up attitude, USA managed to add one back under a minute to go on the clock after Paityn Wirth (Thompsontown, Pa.) sent a backhand cross to Matson in the circle who scored to make it 3-1.
Following the game, England’s Elena Rayer was named Player of the Match.
“I think if we put in some of those chances we had in the circle, it changes the game, it changes the momentum, said Magadan. “I think we are still learning as a team how to handle those momentum shifts.”
Today’s contest marked a career milestone for USA athlete Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.) who played in her 100th international cap for Team USA.
In less than 24 hours, the U.S. Women’s National Team will return to action to take on No. 4 England in their second game of the double-header weekend at Karen Shelton Stadium at 2:00 p.m. ET. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here. For more information, visit the FIH Hockey Pro League Event Page.
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