Indoor USWNT Tie Hosts at FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup
by USA Field Hockey
Images Taken by World Sport Pics
PRETORIA, South Africa – Up against the hosts, the No. 12 U.S. Women’s National Indoor Team faced No. 14 South Africa in their third pool game of the 2023 FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup at Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria, South Africa. Eager to come away with points, USA took a 2-0 lead early in the third quarter but South Africa responded by producing two goals within a minute span as the game finished in a 2-2 tie.
The opening minutes saw USA start on the back foot as South Africa attacked forward without a positive circle entry. In the 4th minute, the hosts used a long ball to break through USA’s defense and earn a penalty corner after a lifted reception. USA’s goalkeeper Samantha Carlino (Kennett Square, Pa.) stayed home and made the glove save on the shot. Immediately down the other way, Reese D’Ariano (West Chester, Pa.) used speed to get into the attack and respond with a red, white and blue penalty corner. Although D’Ariano’s drag sailed over the crossbar, USA kept up the attack and earned another set piece a minute later. Unable to find a result, D’Ariano produced one more shot on frame to close out the scoreless quarter.
Just 34 seconds into the second, South Africa earned a penalty corner that was saved by a rushing Carlino. USA stuck with their game plan of sitting in a deep press and used it to their advantage. A half-court pick by Nathalie Friedman (Phoenix, Md.) led to instant offense through Annika Herbine (Macungie, Pa.) who got it to D’Ariano, but saw her shot go wide. In the 15th minute, a long ball off the left boards found Friedman in the corner who got it to Hannah Miller (Malvern, Pa.) in the middle of the circle who converted to give USA a 1-0 lead. The hosts continued to threaten but couldn’t find the equalizer as USA held the halftime advantage.
USA extended their lead just two minutes into the third quarter. Quick passing that started in the backfield went off the left boards through D’Ariano and found Abby Burnett (Zionsville, Pa.) in the corner who saw her shot from the baseline go through the legs South Africa’s goalkeeper Cheree Greyvenstein to make it 2-0. The hosts buckled down, came from behind and tied the match after producing two goals within a minute span. The first came in the 25th minute when a scramble in the circle saw USA struggle to clear it and Tegan Fourie putting it home. Seconds later, the game was leveled when Jessica O’Connor put a reverse flick on goal that got through. South Africa continued to threaten, forcing Carlino to make a critical save at the end of the as the frame closed 2-2.
With all for the taking in the final quarter, both sides were eager to find the go-ahead goal. Two minutes in, USA earned a penalty corner and D’Ariano created off the chance but saw her shot go just wide past the post. This was followed up by shots from Herbine and Miller, where both were saved by Greyvenstein. South Africa held momentum for a period, earning a penalty corner, but couldn’t convert. USA found a set piece of their own but also couldn’t capitalize as the match closed at 2-2.
Following the game, South Africa’s Jessica O’Connor was named Player of the Match.
USA returns to the court tomorrow, February 8, for their fourth pool game against New Zealand at 10:50 a.m. ET.
For more information regarding the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup, visit the event page.
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