U.S. Masters Teams Open Grand Masters Hockey European Trophy with Competitive Play

June 23, 2019, 11 a.m. (ET)

ANTWERP, Belgium - June 23, 2019 - The U.S. O-60 Men's and Women's Masters Teams are off and running at the Grand Masters Hockey (GMH) European Cup and Trophy in Antwerp, Belgium. Both squads matched up with The Netherlands to begin the tournament. While the U.S. O-60 Men's Masters Team fought to the very end in a heavily contested 0-2 loss, the U.S. O-60 Women's Masters Team dueled to a 1-1 draw. The second games saw the O-60 Men finish in a 1-1 tie against Sixtiberians and the O-60 Women defeated England 2-1.

O-60 Men's 0 - 2 The Netherlands

A brand new U.S. O-60 Men’s Masters Team fell in their first game as new coach Ian Wilson laid out plans for the team which were carried out to good effect in the first two quarters. The Netherlands rarely threatened the USA goal, while long overheads to the front two strikers created numerous opportunities which were not converted. As players on the field adjusted to each other’s game play, which is a challenge in a highly competitive environment, The Netherlands appeared to be very physical throughout the match.

Early into the second half USA's defense on the near side relaxed for a brief moment, but it was enough to allow a Netherlands striker to go unchallenged into the circle. He struck the ball cleanly passed goalkeeper Watson to give The Netherlands a 1-0 lead. USA meanwhile remained unsettled, while the opposition gained confidence. Additionally, USA did win numerous penalty corners, but their execution was not crisp enough to take advantage. As the time ticked away USA started to try and force the ball, allowing The Netherlands to intercept several times. Ultimately in the final minute, a penalty stroke was awarded to The Netherlands, which they converted to finish the match as 2-0 victors.

O-60 Women's 1 - 1 The Netherlands

In the first-ever U.S. O-60 Women's Masters Team game, USA tied The Netherlands 1-1 in European Trophy play. The fitness, quick passing and ball control from the USA countered the precision passing game of the Dutch team. Despite being held to limited circle penetrations, The Netherlands scored first in the third quarter off of a penalty corner. The USA evened the score in the fourth quarter with a goal by Josie Worthington (Owings Mills, Md.), which was assisted by Jeri Myers (Parkesburg, Pa.). Myers threaded a ball through traffic to Worthington’s forehand for a quick release that found the back of the net. 

The game ended in a draw although the final minutes featured strong pressure and dangerous counters by both teams. Pleased with the effort, Head Coach Ashley Johnston (Royersford, Pa.) reminded the team, “Any day you can draw a tie with the Dutch is a good day. This is a great start to the tournament and a sign of our growth from last year’s competition in Barcelona.”



O-60 Men's 1 - 1 Sixtierbians

The U.S. O-60 Men's Masters Team started strong again against the Sixtierbians, Spanish Grand Masters, dominating the early exchanges. 

After 10 minutes, forward Chamkaur Gill (Placentia, Calif.) collected the ball on the left hand side, advanced into the circle and hammered the ball into the far corner. This was USA's first goal of the tournament. 

Using the long ball to good effect, USA pinned Sixtierbians in their own half for extended periods. Shortly before halftime, in a rare excursion into USA territory, Sixtierbians won and converted a penalty corner, drilled past goalkeeper Donny Watson (Glasgow, Scotalnd) into the net. 

Unable to establish a sustained passing game, USA was frustrated in the second half. Striker Arvinder Virdee (Scottsdale, Ariz.), and captain Peter Bale (Portland, Ore.) left the field with muscle injuries, and the game became scrappy.   

In the final quarter, the ball was deflected by Alva Serrette (Lagrange, Ga.) into the face of a Sixtierbians defender, on the goal line, but after extended discussion the umpires gave a defensive hit, instead of a penalty flick. The game ended as a draw, with the USA concerned about what might have been. However, having collected their first point, a win in the final pool game against Australia, will take them through to the semifinals. 

O-60 Women's 2 - 1 England XL

In a well matched game the U.S. O-60 Women's Masters Team emerged on top. The first quarter saw USA dominate play with several shots and steady pressure on England XL’s backfield. In the second quarter England capitalized on an offensive corner opportunity, knocking in a bouncing ball off the near post. Going into the half it was USA 0, England 1.  

After some positive reinforcement at halftime USA came out strong and determined to finish. Into the third quarter Diane Angstadt (Middletown, Pa.) skillfully controlled the ball near the left corner flag. Her fluid hit drove its way across the goal, met by Sandy Galea-Martinez’s (Lakeside, Calif.) crafty touch for a deflected ball into the goal that the England defense could do nothing about. This tied the game and lit a fire in the USA players. A second goal came just a few minutes later when Angstadt found herself with the ball again, this time on the right side baseline. She slotted it to forward Anne Keating (New York, N.Y.) who put it past the goalkeeper for the go ahead goal. USA's defense was tested in the fourth quarter but remained strong. And, with considerable teamwork, they held England to one goal and secured the win. USA defender, Debbie Wile (The Villages, Fla.) commented on the second half surge, “we found our tempo and stayed connected.”

 

USA will play two tough friendly matches in the midst of a heat wave this week, in preparation for their next competitive game against Alliance on Wednesday, June 26.  

For more information regarding the GMH European Trophy including the full schedule, results, rosters and more, check out the official event page by clicking here.