USWNT Battles but Falls to China in 2022-23 FIH Hockey Pro League

by USA Field Hockey


35 photos

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – The No. 16 U.S. Women’s National Team met No. 10 China in their second FIH Hockey Pro League game at the National Hockey Centre in Wellington, New Zealand. Trailing after the first quarter, USA battled and saw many opportunities go unconverted as China went on to win 4-1.


"While there were great periods of play, penalty corners win games and we have 4 days to improve at both ends," said David Passmore, USWNT Head Coach. "We showed resilience to come back after some tight umpiring decisions but China won the penalty corner competition which is now an area we need to improve."


"Our 1v1 defending has really progressed since my arrival and that aspect was really good for the first 50 minutes."


China started the match on the front foot and produced a lot of attack testing USA’s defense from the start. In the 11th minute, China used good passing to get into the circle and earn their first penalty corner. The United Eagles referred the call, saying the ball hit the stick rather than the body, but were incorrect and lost their referral for the rest of the game. Off the chance, China’s drag was saved on the goal line off the body of Jillian Wolgemuth (Mount Joy, Pa.) earning them a penalty stroke. Gu Yangyan stepped up and converted to give China the 1-0 lead.


The second quarter saw USA settle and start to gather forward momentum but for a period struggled to positively enter their circle. Their persistence paid off in the 23rd minute when quick one-two touch passing got it into the circle and Alexandra Hammel (Duxbury, Mass.) earned USA their first penalty corner. China goalkeeper Ye Jiao made the initial save on Beth Yeager’s (Greenwich, Conn.) drag but the rebound hit a defender’s foot issuing another attempt. On the second, Yeager saw her drag yet again saved by Ye Jiao as possession immediately worked its way downfield. The United Eagles kept up the pressure and saw a few more attacking looks go unrewarded, including a great individual run by Maddie Zimmer (Hershey, Pa.), as the half closed with USA trailing 1-0.


Two minutes into the third frame, China was an athlete up after Zimmer was issued a green card. This sparked a positive attack for China, where they immediately took control into their end and earned a penalty corner. After the first attempt hit a USA foot, China capitalized on the second on a drag from Gu Bingfeng to extend their lead to 2-0. A close chance came for USA in the 39th minute when a long cross field ball found Brooke DeBerdine (Millersville, Pa.) who passed it ahead to Megan Rodgers (San Diego, Calif.). She touched it forward to Olivia Bent-Cole (Philadelphia, Pa.) but was met by Ye Jiao. The United Eagles kept pressing forward and after a long corner restart, Emma DeBerdine (Millersville, Pa.) earned USA a penalty corner. The initial drag by Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, Pa.) was saved by Ye Jaio, but she picked up the rebound and fired a forehand shot that was also saved to close out the quarter.


To start the fourth, China earned a penalty corner, but it was miss trapped on the top and Hammel came up with a save behind USA goalkeeper Jenny Rizzo (Hershey, Pa.). A determined USA kept threatening forward and Ashley Sessa (Schwenksville, Pa.) used creative skill to earn the United Eagles a penalty corner. This time Amanda Golini (Randolph, N.J.) got on the board on a straight shot into the goal to make it 2-1. The red, white and blue maintained on the front foot and almost scored 2 minutes later when a midfield transfer got to Yeager on the right baseline. She dumped it toward goal and Golini’s touch went just wide. China diminished USA’s hope and added two more goals within a 2-minute span to secure the 4-1 win. The first was a straight drag by Gu Bingfeng off a penalty corner, and next she stepped up and buried a penalty stroke to tally her third of the game.


Following the game, China’s Yang Haoting was named Player of the Match.


USA will have a few days off before taking on No. 10 China again on Thursday, February 23 at 10:10 p.m. ET in their third FIH Hockey Pro League game of the mini-tournament in Wellington, New Zealand.


For more information regarding the FIH Hockey Pro League, visit the event page.


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