USWNT Shows Progress, Strong Fourth Quarter Gives Germany FIH Hockey Pro League Win
by USA Field Hockey
IMAGES TAKEN BY FIH & WORLDSPORTSPICS
MÖNCHENGLADBACH, Germany – In their second FIH Hockey Pro League match in less than 24 hours, the No. 15 U.S. Women’s National Team took learnings from the first meeting when they again faced No. 5 Germany at SparkassenPark in Mönchengladbach, Germany. After trailing 1-0 at the half, Die Danas opened up the scoring in the fourth, tallying three more goals in a 5-minute span, for the 4-0 victory.
Much like yesterday’s start, the first part of the opening quarter saw limited chances as both sides looked to positively penetrate their attacking circle. The action picked up midway through the frame, first with USA in the 8th minute. What started deep on the field led to a great forward possession when Haley Randall (Virginia Beach, Va.) passed it ahead to Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.) in front of Germany goalkeeper Julia Sonntag. Magadan pulled around Sonntag and looked to pull the trigger, but Sonja Zimmermann came in to make the backside tackle. A minute later, down the other way, Germany found themselves in a 2v1 situation with USA’s last defender. The red, white and blue recovered but Pia Maertens got a shot off that was saved by the glove of USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas). In the 12th minute, Die Danas had two more chances when Maertens found herself in a 1v1 situation with Ally Hammel (Duxbury, Mass.) but was unable to get a clean shot off and when Anne Schröder weaved through the midfield and passed it to Hanna Granitzki on the pads, but she was met by Bing for the stop. The first period ended scoreless.
Germany started the second quarter with control. Their forward movement and continued persistent attack kept testing USA’s defense and forced Bing to come up with key stops. In the 22nd minute, Die Danas broke the deadlock when a pass found Lena Micheel on the far post unmarked as she tucked it into the goal for a 1-0 lead. Now trailing, USA picked up their front attack but struggled to positively break into their circle. The home team earned the matches’ first penalty corner in the 29th minute, but were to execute, Cassie Sumfest (Lewisburg, Pa.) immediately countered ahead and got it to Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.) in the circle who tried to force it through Sonntag’s pads. This final attempt closed out the half, still with Germany holding the 1-0 lead.
The third quarter began with Germany resuming possession and earning a sequence of penalty corners. Unsuccessful on all attempts, they continued to threaten, and Emma Boermans almost extended the lead by drilling it close range at Robles’ pads. Resuming was an identical play, but this time Sumfest got a stick on the shot as Robles was able to clear it away. USA kept fighting to break into their circle but were continually met by strong Germany defense, often double-teams or interceptions on diagonal balls.
Only trailing 1-0 heading into the final 15 minutes, Germany capitalized on undisciplined errors by USA to tallying three more goals in a 5-minute span. In the 47th minute off a penalty corner, Zimmermann buried a drag into the bottom right to make it 2-0. Three minutes later, a ball down the right side found Boermans on the baseline as Gerstenhöfer stepped in front of her defender and swept it in. Two minutes following Germany capped off the scoring when Micheel passed it to Elisa Gräve at the top of the circle who cut back and fired a backhand. USA didn’t stop fighting and had a few chances of their own. A close one came when Magadan eliminated then dribbled on the left baseline and floated it across the goalmouth where it went untouched. As time ticked down, Germany almost added more when a shot went off the post and Robles was found in a 2v1 situation, but Die Danas held on to the 4-0 win.
“I think we were trying to put them under pressure, and we had to keep that up, but we weren’t able to do that,” commented Magadan, after the game. “They had a few breakaways and their counter attacks are very threatening. They are very clinical in the circle and that is something going into our next game against Holland that we need to make sure we come up with a plan to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Following the game, Germany’s Lena Micheel was named Player of the Match for her game-winning goal.
Next, the U.S. Women’s National Team will travel to Amstelveen, The Netherlands where they will take on the No. 1 Oranje in another two-game series at Wagener Hockey Stadium on Saturday, April 2 at 12:00 p.m. ET and Sunday, April 3 at 10:30 a.m. ET. For more information, visit the FIH Hockey Pro League Event Page.
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