U-21 USWNT's Defense Shines, Concludes Tour with Tie to Host Nation

April 24, 2019, 6:05 p.m. (ET)

MÖNCHENGLADBACH, Germany - April 24, 2019 - The U.S. U-21 Women's National Team met the Germany U-21 squad for the second time in the final match of their international tour. USA made the necessary adjustments to compete with the high level of competition following the previous matches that they played earlier this week. Although the team absorbed lots of pressure from Germany at the start, USA’s defensive intensity increased throughout the match, as well as promising offensive opportunities, ultimately playing to a 1-1 tie. 

“It was pleasing to see the group improve across their four games in Germany," said Phil Edwards, USA Field Hockey's Senior Manager of Junior High Performance. "The level of competition was high, as you would expect playing Great Britain and our hosts, and the players stepped up to the challenge. These experiences are invaluable as part of the players development and hopefully they head back to the United States ready to take the next step forward.”

Throughout the game, the team showed great resilience and determination to match the level of play from the opposition. The defensive strength and determination to win the ball and play with a consistent attacking mentality shutdown Germany’s offense. In turn, allowed USA to counter attack and create offensive pressure. Germany generated a lot of circle attack in the first and second quarters, but were unable to capitalize on most of their opportunities due to USA's defense. One of the Die Danas' attacks found its way through in the 21st minute on a field goal. USA responded by generating a few offensive threats and earned a penalty corner in the process, but Germany's goalkeeper made a diving save to keep the ball out. At halftime, the score stood 0-1.

USA made tactical and positional adjustments at halftime and came out of the locker room with a hunger to close the final two quarters on a high note and finish off the tour with a win. The red, white and blue applied a lot of pressure on the press which resulted in interceptions and counter attacks. In the middle of the third quarter, USA made an intercept off the press, where the ball then made its way to Mary-Kate Neff (Villanova, Pa.), who put it over Germany's goalkeeper to level the score to 1-1 in the 33rd minute. USA earned more penalty corners throughout the second half, including one where Jillian Woglemuth (Mount Joy, Pa.) collected a rebound from the initial shot and fired a reverse shot into the goal, but it was called back.

The final quarter was played mostly between the 25-yard lines with both teams making the occasional foray into their respective attacking circles. With one minute left in the game, Germany got into USA’s defensive circle and got the ball past USA’s goalkeeper, but Carter Ayars (Wilmington, Del.) was there to make a goal line defensive save to keep the game knotted at 1-1.

After the match, USA and Germany participated in a penalty shootout where USA defeated the Germany side 3-2 with Corinne Zanolli (Newton Square, Pa.), Megan Rogers (San Diego, Calif.) and Maddie Zimmer (Hershey, Pa.) scoring.

Overall, the tour was a filled with high-quality, close competition and provided invaluable growth experience for the U.S. U-21 Women's National Team. Up next, the the team will participate in a training camp May 10-12 at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa.