Trailing early in their second FIH Hockey Pro League game of the weekend at HC Rotterdam in The Netherlands, the No. 15 U.S. Women’s National Team produced a solid performance, including a composed second half, to secure the win over No. 13 China. After falling behind 6 minutes into the game, USA responded and equalized off a penalty stroke at the end of the first quarter before finding the game winner at the start of the third for the 2-1 victory.
Similar to yesterday’s game, China started the match on the front foot and produced their first penalty corner after 3 minutes. USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas) made the initial save as their defensive unit cut down the next circle entry. China maintained control and 3 minutes following earned another set piece. This time they were successful as Ying Zhang’s straight drag got through for the early lead. USA settled and started to gather forward momentum but struggled to positively enter their circle. With a minute remaining in the quarter, Lauren Moyer (York, Pa.) drove into the circle and was fouled from behind earning USA a penalty stroke. Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, Pa.) calmy stepped up and converted to even the score at 1-1.
The second frame saw a handful of circle entries for both teams. China controlled the first minutes, as Meng Yuan’s shot was saved by Bing and on the resuming play Tiantian Luo’s attempt went wide. Momentum shifted halfway through as USA used quick passing to generate good attack down the right side. The first came when Moyer collected an overhead from Hoffman to win a free hit just outside the circle. On the restart, Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.) broke in on the right baseline but her pass through wasn’t received. Moments later, Maddie Zimmer (Hershey, Pa.) also attacked down the flank, did a drop pass to Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.) as she quickly entered the circle, but her next pass was uncontrolled. With 21 seconds to go, China earned a penalty corner but to no avail as the score remained tied at 1-1.
USA wasted no time out of the break as they earned a penalty corner 2 minutes in where they capitalized and took the lead. The play started on the left baseline where Leah Crouse (Virginia Beach, Va.) earned the red, white and blue their first penalty corner. Off the chance, Ally Hammel (Duxbury, Mass.) buried a straight sweep into the lower right corner. A composed USA side-maintained possession for the remaining minutes to protect their lead.
USA closed out their solid performance in the fourth quarter, keeping China at bay with collected on defense while generating a few looks of their own. In the 51st minute, USA almost extended their lead when Moyer received a long, full-field ball and set herself up with a great first touch, but her shot was saved by China’s goalkeeper Xinhuan Li. Moments later a penalty corner option, Beth Yeager’s (Greenwich, Conn.) drag was stopped by the glove of Li. A determined China earned a penalty corner with 3 minutes remaining, but their attempt was denied by Bing. Under press as the time ticked down, USA stayed poised for the 2-1 win.
Following the game, USA’s Lauren Moyer was named Player of the Match.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for a W in this League and we’ve been working really hard, sticking to the process,” commented Moyer. “China’s a great opponent, they are ranked higher than us, and are really disciplined in what they do. We can walk away from this with a lot of learning, but our heads are held high.”
The U.S. Women’s National Team have a quick turnaround when they take on the No. 6 India in another two-game series at HC Rotterdam on Tuesday, June 21 and Wednesday, June 22, both games starting at 10:30 a.m. ET. For more information, visit the FIH Hockey Pro League Event Page.
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