FIH Pro League Standings as of June 6

June 06, 2019, 1 p.m. (ET)

Plenty of thrilling moments have unfolded this past week in the women's FIH Pro League. Now with only 17 matches left until the FIH Pro League Finals, check out how recent outings have unfolded along with current standings.

 


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Great Britain’s Head Coach Mark Hager said his team had been through some “soul searching” after their 4-1 defeat at the hands of Belgium earlier in the week and they would be looking to put in a good performance against the world number one side. But, he conceded, this was going to be a very tough match for a team that has shown inconsistent form over the course of the competition - with just two wins from 11 matches.

That said it was Great Britain who started slightly the stronger, winning the first penalty corner of the match. The shot eluded Anne Veenendaal in the Dutch goal but the ball was blocked on the line by Marloes Keetels. That was the wake up call that Netherlands needed and with just three minutes left before the quarter break, Player of the Match Frederique Matla put her side ahead after she latched onto a cross from Malou Pheninckx and slotted the ball neatly into the corner of Sabbie Heesh’s goal.

While The Netherlands have been firing in numerous goals over the course of their FIH Pro League campaign, a less commented upon but equally important factor to their success has been their disciplined defense and it was on full display here. Despite Great Britain having a good amount of possession, the wall of orange shirts meant the visiting side had no forward options against the press.

The second goal for The Netherlands came off the back of that solid defense. A steal in midfield saw Margot van Geffen speed down the right-side of the pitch. Van Geffen’s cross hit a Great Britain foot and the ball sprang up for Marijn Veen to slap home. Caia van Maasakker nearly made it three as her trade-mark drag flick penalty corner was heading goalward. Giselle Ansley was on hand to bat the ball off the goal line, keeping the score to 2-0 going into the break.

The second half saw the game pattern continue in the same vein. Great Britain had a greater share of possession but were unable to do anything meaningful with it. The Dutch in comparison, worked to make sure every turnover resulted in a shot at goal. Matla nearly doubled her tally as she burst into the Great Britain circle but fired wide and seconds later Xan de Waard cruised into the circle with effortless guile, displaying a range of 3D skills before winning her side a penalty corner, that ultimately yielded no reward.

The third quarter saw no further goals although Tessa Howard came close to halving the deficit when she fired a speculative backhand at Veenendaal’s goal. The Netherland’s goalkeeper was up to the challenge and palmed it to safety. The final quarter saw the world number one side up the pressure from the first whistle. Lidewij Welten, who had a quiet game by her own standards, wove a web around the Great Britain defense but her shot flew just wide. Seconds earlier Lauren Stam had also been creating havoc in the circle but her ingenuity on the ball also came to nothing.

Unusually for The Netherlands, the penalty corner routines were not firing. A total of seven penalty corners were won but neither the fire power of van Maasakker or the many variations available to Annan’s team yielded any goals.

With five minutes left, Hager removed his goalkeeper. Great Britain’s attacking power was further enhanced when Maria Verschoor was sent from the field for five minutes for a clumsy tackle. The teams set up for a very different game – Netherlands looking to defend in numbers and Great Britain seeking that all-important breakthrough.


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The Black Sticks, with new Head Coach Graham Shaw in charge, put on a display of tireless running, incisive passing and hard-working defende. USA for their part were equally industrious all over the pitch and created many scoring chance – finishing was the key difference between the two teams.

The last time the two teams met in the FIH Pro League, New Zealand won 3-1. This time around, New Zealand needed the win in order to keep their hopes of reaching the FIH Pro League Grand Final alive. With that aim in mind, New Zealand were nearly off the mark early in the game when they won their first penalty corner but Alyssa Manley was on hand to calmly clear off the line.

As the quarter played out, New Zealand began to spray the ball all over the pitch. Architect of many moves was Stacey Michelesen and the midfielder was able to find Olivia Merry, Rose Keddell and Alia Jacques deep in the USA defense with some visionary passes.

For their part, USA were looking for quick turnovers and the speed they moved the ball up the pitch was enough to cause consternation among the higher-ranked team’s defense. Grace O’Hanlon was called on to come out and meet the play on several occasions. The deadlock was broken midway through the second quarter when Tarryn Davey fired in a reverse stick shot and it pinged into the goal past a wrong-footed Kelsey Bing in the USA goal.

USA went straight back into the attack but found the New Zealand defense in obstinate mood as they got bodies back behind the ball no matter what USA threw at them. Captain Kathleen Sharkey thought she had scored the equalizer but the shot was judged to have been dangerous and New Zealand maintained their advantage into the halftime break.

In fact it was New Zealand who found the gap in the USA defense just one minute into the second half. Michelsen took the ball into the USA circle and her reverse stick shot forced a save from Bing. Shiloh Gloyn was able to pounce on the rebound and tap it home. Despite the two-goal deficit, USA didn’t stop playing their quick, attacking style. Margaux Paolino and Mackenzie Allessie were particularly active down the USA left side.

USA’s quest for goals was not helped by the fact that O’Hanlon was in sparkling form in the Black Sticks’ goal. Her most agile stop involved a double save from a penalty corner toward the end of the third quarter. Over the course of a goalmouth scramble, the goalkeeper had to save low to her left before twisting 180 degrees to save the rebound as it went to her right.

The final fifteen minutes saw both teams ramp up the pace as USA continued to push for goals and New Zealand responded to the rise in intensity levels. Merry added a third goal and extended her position as top scorer in the FIH Pro League with nine goals in total. The goal was beautifully created by Michelesen, who sprinted with the ball out of her own defense before releasing a pass that led to Merry finding herself in possession with only the goalkeeper to beat. Merry was calmness personified as she finished a move that was straight out of the top drawer of hockey.


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China were made to pay as they failed to make the most of their scoring opportunities. While the host nation dominated possession and had numerous chances to score, it was Australia who emerged as 3-2 winners, courtesy of three goals scored in the final 16 minutes of the game. The result means Australia remain very much in the race for a place at the Grand Final at the end of June. China, with one game remaining, are in eighth position, ahead of USA.

China took the lead in the opening quarter of the match. The lower ranked team had been putting Australia under a lot of pressure and a cross from Xi Xiayun found Chen Yi, who was able to tip the ball smartly past Rachael Lynch in the Australia goal.

The game really opened up in the second quarter as both teams showed their intent to push forwards. Rebecca Greiner went on a lung-busting run that split the China defense and Jane Claxton was unlucky not to get on the end of the subsequent pass. As the quarter counted down, the home team were very much in the driving seat. Captain Peng Yang thought she had scored a second but it was ruled out on referral.

The third quarter saw much of the same. Australia were working hard to create chances but China had got momentum and always seemed one step ahead. However, with just seconds left in the quarter, China were made to rue not making more of their pressure when Player of the Match Maddie Fitzpatrick was able to send home a scorching penalty corner to level the score.

Australia came into the final quarter with renewed energy, knowing that a win was crucial in their bid to reach the Grand Final. Head Coach Paul Gaudoin asked his players for more and Savannah Fitzpatrick responded with a fantastic backhand shot that Emily Chalker was able to touch into the goal past Ye Jiao.

Rosie Malone extended Australia’s lead when she shot home after a goal mouth scramble and the Hockeyroos felt they had done enough to secure the win. China however, had other ideas and with two minutes on the clock, they removed their keeper and pressed forwards.

The action paid off as Xu Wengyu found the back of the net after Jocelyn Bartram in the Australia goal had made two saves but had been unable to clear her lines.

Unfortunately for China, it was just not enough and Australia finished 3-2 winners.


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Germany got off to a cracking start against Belgium as Player of the Match Charlotte Stapenhorst proved yet again why she is regarded as one of the best strikers in the world. First she latched onto a ball that had been played into the circle, deflecting it into the goal. This was followed with a piece of audacious skill: Stapenhorst bounced the ball on her stick as she ran past the despairing Belgium defenders and then coolly flicked the ball past Aisling D’Hooghe in the Belgium goal.

The intense German pressure continued in the second quarter. Nike Lorenz sent in a fierce penalty corner shot, which D’Hooghe saved but failed to clear. The Belgium goalkeeper then showed her superb athleticism to bounce up and deny Elisa Grave the rebound.

The third quarter saw Belgium coming back into the game. The Red Panthers were now enjoying far more possession, with Ambre Ballenghien and Sophie-Anne Weyns both looking much sharper as they ran at the German defense. However, that progress was halted in its tracks as an overturned ball led to a penalty corner. Rebecca Grote made no mistake as she tucked the ball home to give her team a 3-0 lead.

A last moment of brilliance came from Stapenhorst as she once again bobbled the ball on her stick, showing her amazing 3D skills. With the ball mid-air, she struck it sweetly and it flew goal bound to give Stapenhorst her third goal.

Emilie Sinia nearly scored a consolation goal but Julia Sonntag pulled off a fabulous save to keep a clean sheet. The result gives Germany their sixth win in the FIH Pro League, bringing them to within one point of Belgium in the table.


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The Netherlands versus Germany match opened proceedings in Eindhoven, with the Oranje looking to complete an FIH Pro League double over Die Danas following their 1-0 triumph, courtesy of Frederique Matla’s third minute strike, in Monchengladbach in April. Matla needed just six minutes to open the scoring in this contest, exchanging passes with Laurien Leurink seconds after Germany had lost possession deep in their own territory before passing into an unguarded goal to give the world champions an early advantage.

The Netherlands controlled the majority of the opening two periods but failed to extend their lead ahead of halftime, giving the visiting Germans more than a glimmer of hope against the hosts. Germany looked threatening in the early stages of the period, but the Dutch soon found their groove again and would have extended their advantage were it not for an instinctive penalty corner save from goalkeeper Nathalie Kubalski, who touched Matla’s goal-bound deflection onto the post.

The Dutch doubled their lead 31 seconds into the fourth and final quarter thanks to the ever-reliable penalty corner drag-flicking ability of Caia van Maasakker, who arrowed an unstoppable effort into the top left corner of the goal. However, Germany was quick to respond, with Pia Maertens getting ahead of her marker to touch it home from close range with 12 minutes of the match remaining. The strike set up a dramatic finish, with the visitors replacing goalkeeper Kubalski with an outfield player to ramp up the pressure on their opponents. However, despite late chances for Germany, it was the Netherlands who claimed their ninth win in ten FIH Pro League matches to move one step closer to a place in the Grand Final competition at the end of this month.

  

 

Per the FIH:

The following points will be awarded for each match:

  • Three (3) points to the winner in normal time
  • One (1) point to the winner of a shootout following a draw plus one (1) bonus point, making a total of two (2) points
  • One (1) point to the loser of the shootout, in the event of a draw
  • No points to the loser of a match in normal time

During the season up until the Grand Final, teams will be ranked in the FIH Pro League table by the percentage of points gained relative to the maximum number possible to have attained at any given time.

For example, a team who have played six matches can achieve a maximum of 18 points from winning all six matches. If they have achieved 9 points after six matches, they will be ranked in the league table based on a score of 50%. The aim of this system is to more easily illustrate team performances at the times in the season when different teams have played significantly different numbers of matches.