New Zealand Tops USWNT for Second Time in FIH Pro League

Images by Mark Palczewski & FIH/Getty Images

June 01, 2019, 11:05 p.m. (ET)

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LANCASTER, Pa. – June 1, 2019 – The U.S. Women’s National Team opened up the month of June with their fourth consecutive home game in the FIH Pro League at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa. Looking to build off momentum of their first win just two weeks ago, No. 12 USA faced No. 6 New Zealand for the second time this year. The two squads tested each other early and often inside the circle in the opening 15 minutes but the Blacks Sticks were able to score once in each remaining quarter to take the match 3-0.

Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.) opened the game with a quick-footed attempt to get inside the circle but was met by Brooke Neal to take away the opportunity. New Zealand responded with their first penalty corner in the third minute after a takeaway near midfield. The initial shot was stopped by Alyssa Manley (Lititz, Pa.) in the goalmouth before Holly Pearson made a second attempt that gave  Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas) her first save of the night. After a green card was issued to Taylor West (Princess Anne, Md.) in the 5th minute, the Black Sticks looked to take advantage with a cross by Kirsten Pearce who was looking for a tip in but was stopped by the stick of Mary Beth Barham (Fairfax, Va.). Moments later, after an intercept near the middle of the field by Margaux Paolino (Villanova, Pa.), Mackenzie Allessie (Mount Joy, Pa.) found a scoring chance in front of the goal but could not lift the ball over the pads of goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon.

New Zealand threatened with multiple entries to open the second quarter which included a quick reverse shot by Pearson that was halted by Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, Pa.). Still on offense Tarryn Davey took a straight shot on the line of the circle in the 20th minute. Bing made the initial save but a high bounce went in to the goal. USA asked for a video referral on the play saying the shot came from outside the circle, but was upheld as New Zealand took a 1-0 lead. After multiple chances by Paolino and Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.), USA set up for another penalty corner in the 24th minute where Sharkey appeared to score a tying goal for USA  but New Zealand called for a referral who argued the shot was deemed dangerous. The video umpire agreed and the goal was waived off keeping the score 1-0 which would extend in to the half.

Shiloh Gloyn opened up the third quarter on a tip in goal to extend New Zealand’s lead. USA responded with another penalty corner attempt where Sharkey was stopped by O’Hanlon. USA would test the Black Sticks’ goalkeeper again seconds later with a try by Manley but could not connect on the cross by Grega. Back and forth play ensued that included two more penalty corners by USA whcih were again denied by O’Hanlon and her supporting defensive unit. New Zealand began the final 15 minutes with two fast entries and a penalty corner which saw Amy Robertson stretch along the post but her attempt hit the outside of the net. In the 51st minute however Olivia Merry tallied one more for New Zealand as she found herself one-on-one with Bing. The USA goalkeeper was forced to charge to block off the angle, colliding with Merry, but the FIH Pro League's leading goal scorer was still able to hit the ball in to the goal while falling down for the 3-0 advantage. USA kept up the grit in the final minutes but could not find any more chances as they ran in to a conservative opposition that waited out the clock.


“I think we played really well the first three quarters," said USA captain Sharkey after the game. "New Zealand is a really strong team in their counter attack. You need to be turned on in every single one of those moments or they are going to capitalize.”


Following the game, New Zealand captain Stacey Michelsen was named Player of the Match for assisting on two of her squad's goals.

The U.S. Women’s National Team will travel for their final away game of the FIH Pro League on Saturday, June 15 when they play No. 10 China in Changzhou. For more information, check out the FIH Pro League event page by clicking here. #FIHProLeague.