SANTIAGO, Chile – A two goal lead was not enough for the No. 5 U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team when they faced No. 4 England in their second pool play match of the 2023 International Hockey Federation (FIH) Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup. With five unanswered goals, England came away with a 5-2 victory over the Junior Eagles.
England began the match showing off their speed – penetrating the circle early, with a hard shot that was saved by Annabel Skubisz just two minutes in. The quickness of the England attackers had USA on their toes, and England earned a penalty corner at 5 minutes. Skubisz made another save on the flick from the top, but a foul by USA gave England a second opportunity – which USA denied.
A few good looks from Josie Hollamon put the ball up the field for the Junior Eagles, but the offense could not convert on the chances. At the 6-minute mark, Olivia Bent-Cole sent a ball up to Charly Bruder, finally getting USA into their attacking circle. It was soon after that Daniela Mendez-Trendler worked to earn a penalty corner opportunity. The insert from Mendez-Trendler returned to her on the left post off a deflection from Lucy Adam’s shot, as she calmly sent the ball into the net to put USA up 1-0.
Now, USA had some pressure building off the momentum of the goal. USA had good ball movement in the midfield, including by Kiersten Thomassey, who showed off skill on the left. With 3:37 left in the quarter, England pushed up for the first time in a bit to earn a penalty corner. Scubisz made the initial save, then the red, white, and blue defense worked to get a call coming out. USA remained mainly on the offensive for the final few minutes of the quarter, which ended with them leading 1-0.
USA began the second quarter by pushing up high, but breakaway play from England earned them another set piece at minute 17 – the shot went wide. With some solid team passing out of the backfield from Hollamon, Jans Croon, and Maddy Orsi, USA was able to offset the high England pressure and get the ball back up the pitch. Getting the attack going, Abby Tamer made a reverse stick steal at the 50-yard line, sent a pass up to Ryleigh Heck, received the ball back in the circle, and slipped it to Hope Rose who finished it at post. The goal from Rose doubled USA’s lead at 19 minutes to 2-0.
In response, England turned up their pressure, but the USA defense stood strong with low tackles. Reagan Underwood took control of the ball in the midfield and sent a pass up to Tamer, whose quick backhand shot sailed high over the net. Back pushing up on offense, England tallied a few more shots – including a quick hit that was saved by Skubisz with 5 minutes left in the half. An unrelenting England attack finally found their first goal with a high chip shot into the back of the net. The score was 2-1, USA, going into halftime.
The next half started off with USA pressure, but England – so fast on their transition – earned a penalty corner chance just 2 minutes in. On the chance, England earned a crucial penalty stroke, which they converted to tie the match 2-2.
It was now England who had the Junior Eagles on their toes – tallying more shots and pressing into their attacking end. Scubisz came up with a big step up and save on a shot from an England attacker who had broken free in the circle, but it was just a few minutes later that England took the lead, 3-2, with a deflection into the cage.
After a near offensive chance created by Tamer, USA regained possession briefly. The possession included some good passes from the USA up and around the field, including another solid look from Hollamon. There was an important penalty corner chance for USA with 6 minutes remaining in the third quarter, but the initial shot from Bruder was too high.
Seemingly without missing a step, England was right back on attack, and an upgraded foul gave them a chance for a set piece with 5 minutes left. The shot was deflected over the endline by the USA defense. Up the field again, quick stickwork from Bent-Cole earned USA another penalty corner chance – the shot from Croon sailed wide. Another opportunity soon after, which was redone several times, ended up fruitless for the Junior Eagles. Finally, it seemed that USA’s offensive time had ended; with England pushing up again on transition, and USA earning back-to-back yellow cards as the third frame came to close with England up 3-2.
The final frame was England’s to own. Down two players, USA worked overtime to stave off shots from the England attack. It was five minutes into the quarter when USA found their own transition, and earned a set piece opportunity. The play was a slip left then sweep, which went out over the endline. Quick dribbling up the field by the England attack ended with a backhand shot in USA’s net, giving England a 4-2 advantage. Another penalty corner for England gave them their fifth and final unanswered goal – scored on a drag flick with just two minutes left.
On Sunday, December 3, the Junior Eagles will play No. 12 New Zealand at 10 AM ET in their third and final pool play match. This match and all others will be live streamed on watch.hockey.
For all information about #JWC2023, check out the event page.
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