USWNT Dealt Setback by Host Belgium in FIH Hockey Pro League

by USA Field Hockey

Images Taken by WorldSportPics & FIH

42 photos

ANTWERP, Belgium – The No. 16 U.S. Women’s National Team matched up against host No. 4 Belgium in their second match of the mini-tournament of the 2022-23 FIH Hockey Pro League at Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein-Antwerp. Behind 2-0 at the half, USA clamped down defensively in the third quarter, but conceded two more goals in the final frame to finish with a 4-0 loss.


In a match with almost even possession statistically, the United Eagles could not find the circle entries that they needed and that the Red Panthers were able to. Back and forth play for the first several minutes of the match finally settled when Belgium’s Emily White earned a penalty corner by finding a USA defender’s foot. Stephanie Vanden Borre sent a drag flick into the net to give Belgium a 1-0 lead at five minutes in. For the remainder of the frame, Meredith Sholder (Fleetwood, Pa.), Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, Pa.), and the rest of USA’s defense worked to keep the Red Panthers without a good look on cage. The first quarter ended with Belgium leading 1-0.


The second quarter continued to see exchanges in possession, including a play from Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.) showing off her skill to dribble out of a sticky situation in the back corner. Despite pushes up the field, mistakes from both teams would cause turnovers and halt momentum. USA got their best look of the game at 18-minutes in when Beth Yeager (Greenwich, Conn.) sent a hard cross to the lefthand post where Abby Tamer (Dexter, Mich.) was unable to finish it in the cage. Back on the offensive, Belgium was again able to find the back of the net when Delphine Marien tipped the ball in off a hard shot at the 23-minute mark. Up 2-0, the Red Panthers kept up the pressure on USA. With less than a minute to go, a reverse shot from Belgium was deflected out by USA defense, and the half ended 2-0 in favor of Belgium.


With a fresh new half, USA looked to make up the deficit by coming out with renewed energy. A hard ball sent into the circle from USA one minute in hit off the Belgium goalpost, but USA attack was unable to beat the defense to the ball. USA’s Maddie Zimmer (Hershey, Pa.) made several good tackles and subsequent runs up the righthand side of the field, including a play in which she sent up the ball to Linnea Gonzales (Bel Air, Md.). The cross left from Gonzales was picked off by the Belgium defense, breaking down the offensive opportunity for the United Eagles. For the remainder of the quarter, both teams were able to stave off each other’s offensive efforts. A solid defense from USA kept Belgium off the board for the third quarter, which ended with the same line of 2-0.


Belgium broke open the fourth quarter by earning two more goals. With ten minutes left to play, USA’s defense was working hard to keep Belgium out after facing several pushes into the circle. Sholder showed some patient defense to earn a free hit coming out, while goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas) intercepted a ball sent across the circle by the Belgium attack. Shortly after, Belgium’s Lien Hillewaert took a quick shot in the circle that found a USA foot to earn the penalty corner. The Red Panthers’ slip left was stopped by Bing, but USA conceded another penalty corner. This time, Vanden Borre was able to secure her second goal off a drag flick, and give Belgium a 3-0 lead. A few minutes later, Belgium tallied one more after earning a penalty stroke, which was put away by Charlotte Englebert.


Following the game, Belgium’s Stephanie Vanden Borre was named Player of the Match.

Today's match marked the 100th international cap for USA captain Ashley Hoffman.

USA will rematch No. 5 Germany on Monday, July 3 at 12:10 p.m. ET in their third FIH Hockey Pro League game of the mini-tournament in Antwerp, Belgium.


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


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