USWNT Tie with Spain in First FIH Hockey Pro League Meeting

by USA Field Hockey


59 photos

ANTWERP, Belgium – At Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plien in Antwerp, Belgium, the No. 15 U.S. Women’s National Team took on No. 7 Spain in their first FIH Hockey Pro League meeting of the weekend. Scoreless after the first quarter, both teams produced in the second when USA tallied off a penalty corner and Spain converted a penalty stroke. Regulation finished tied and it was Spain who earned the extra point after finishing 4-2 after the five rounds.


Spain started the match in control, but it was USA who produced the first circle entry in the 3rd minute. The middle portion of the quarter saw possession shared as neither side were able to positively break forward. The action picked up in the final 6 minutes, first with Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.) sending a hard ball along the left baseline that forced Spain goalkeeper Jana Martínez out of the goal and moments later when Spain took it down the other way and ,after great defense by Ally Hammel (Duxbury, Mass.) and Amanda Magadan (Randolph. N.J.), they earned the game’s first penalty corner. Their straight hit was stopped by USA goalkeeper Jenny Rizzo (Hershey, Pa.) and she made the rebound save before USA’s defense cleared it away. Almost immediately, USA worked it down field and Maddie Zimmer (Hershey, Pa.) got a push toward goal that was deflected over the end line. In the final minute of the frame, Spain earned a penalty corner when Georgina Oliva attempted a backhand that was touched away on the wrong side by Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.). The play was referred as Spain was correct but Maria Lopez’s shot went wide.


The second quarter was busy on both ends. Three minutes in, it seemed that Spain took the lead off a penalty corner but after a USA referral, Rizzo’s stop hit the foot of an attacker before it was scored. Similar to the first frame, the middle section saw shared possession between the 25-yard lines until the final few minutes. In the 27th minute, Paityn Wirth (Thompsontown, Pa.) used 3D skill on the left side to enter the circle and a Spain athlete deliberately defended it over the baseline earning USA a penalty corner. After a series of restarts, along with Spain breaking the defensive line early, Ashley Hoffman’s (Mohnton, Pa.) initial drag was stopped by Martínez, but Alia Marshall (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) was there to put away the rebound. USA’s lead was short lived as 2 minutes later Spain won a penalty corner and off the chance earned a penalty stroke. Oliva converted to even the score, 1-1, just before halftime.


To start the second half, both teams made goalkeeper substitutions with Kealsie Robles (Seaford, Pa.) and Melanie Garcia coming into the game. Each sie saw some attack in the opening minutes but neither could find an outcome. Spain had a close chance 6 minutes in when Begoña Garcia broke into the circle and put it on a USA foot but she came up with the advantage and sent a shot wide. Moments later, Laia Vidosa tested Robles with a lifted shot that was saved. On the resuming play, Vidosa sent a hard hit toward the circle and earned a Spain penalty corner but were unable to produce. USA brought some excitement in the final seconds of the quarter. Matson used individual skill to weave into the circle and backhand pass it to Megan Rodgers (San Diego, Calif.) who scored, but the quarter ending horn sounded just before the play.


Spain started the fourth quarter earning three penalty corners in row but were unable to find a result. Two minutes later, USA earned a set play of their own and the quick delivery by Hammel was touched high over the goal by Marshall. Spain had a spell of attack, testing USA’s defense unit. It started when Marta Segu tried to set up a backhand shot that Jillian Wolgemuth (Mount Joy, Pa.) deflected away. Next, Júlia Strappato attempted a shot that was defended well by Cassie Sumfest (Lewisburg, Pa.). Following, B. Garcia got it in front of Robles and forced her to come out of the goal and make a stick stop, but the save went off Spain’s knee earning them a penalty corner. In the final minute of regulation, Laura Barrios rung a shot off the post as the match remained tied and went into a shootout.


Per the FIH Pro League structure, each team earns one point for the tie but the winner of the shootout earns an additional point. USA led after the first round when Rizzo made the stop and Sanne Caarls (Nieuw-Vennep, Netherlands) scored. Spain evened things up after the second when Xantal Gine put away her second attempt and took the lead at the conclusion of the third when L. Barrios scored. The fourth round saw both Spain and USA’s Grega score but Florencia Amundson notched the shootout winner at the top of the fifth round.


Following the game, Spain’s Florencia Amundson was named Player of the Match for sealing the shootout point.

"On the balance of the game, I was happy with our second half," said Greg Drake, USWNT Head Coach. "We made some positive change, we still didn't control the game, but we certainly had more of the ball and created a little bit more. So from that perspective and the growth, I am relatively happy. Of course, with a little bit of lucky and if the third quarter goes a little bit longer, we turn it in front of the last 15 minutes."

"I feel we are progressing and I am hopeful for a positive performance tomorrow."

In less than 24 hours, the U.S. Women’s National Team will return to action to take on No. 8 Spain in their second game of the double-header weekend at 5:00 a.m. ET. For more information, visit the FIH Hockey Pro League Event Page.


#FIHProLeague | #HockeyAtItsBest



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