FIH Pro League Women's Standings as of May 2

May 02, 2019, 1 p.m. (ET)

The FIH Pro League is on the back stretch! With just 32 matches left to play, the women’s standings are still narrowing before the FIH Pro League Finals take place.

Here's a look at match-ups from the past two weeks as well as where the competing countries stand.


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The long awaited home debut for Germany started later than initially planned, with heavy rain forcing a 55-minute delay to their clash with Great Britain. Once play eventually started it was Die Danas who were in charge, having an early goal ruled out by an umpire video referral before forcing the Rio 2016 gold medalists to soak up plenty of early pressure. However, Great Britain almost took the lead against the run of play when a penalty corner drag flick from Grace Balsdon seemed to catch Germany goalkeeper Julia Sonntag unsighted, with her perhaps fortunate to see the ball clip the inside of her left kicker before traveling away to safety.

Germany controlled the second period almost from start to finish, with Great Britain captain Hollie Pearne-Webb making two crucial blocks in front of goal before Nike Lorenz wasted a glorious chance when she failed to test Great Britain goalkeeper Amy Tennant with a strike from the top of the circle. Tennant’s contribution to keeping Germany off the scoreboard was huge, saving brilliantly from Pia Maertens, Charlotte Stapenhorst and Nina Notman to maintain British hopes of a positive away result. 

Germany’s talismanic attacker Charlotte Stapenhorst showed her defensive worth shortly after halftime, producing a breathtaking goal line stop to deny Giselle Ansley’s penalty corner drag flick from sailing into the net. It proved to be a decisive moment, with Germany finally getting the goal that their dominance deserved in the 38th minute when Hannah Gablac pounced, squeezing a shot on the turn to past Tennant to finally break British resistance.

The domination from the home side continued in the final quarter, with Tennant again coming to Great Britain’s rescue to deny Lena Micheel and the ever-dangerous Stapenhorst. Great Britain head coach Mark Hager threw caution to the wind in the final five minutes, replacing Tennant with an outfield player in the hope of snatching an equalizer. However, it was Germany who took advantage, with Gablac sealing a 2-0 win for the hosts by firing into an empty net with two minutes remaining.

 


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The first of the meetings on Anzac Day - a national day of remembrance in New Zealand and Australia that commemorates the citizens of both nations who served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations - featured the women’s teams, with the Black Sticks and the Hockeyroos contesting a hugely entertaining fixture in front of an enthralled crowd at the North Harbour Hockey Stadium.

Australia - beaten 3-1 by New Zealand in last month’s reverse fixture in Sydney - needed just two minutes to open the scoring in their first FIH Pro League match on the road, with Kaitlyn Nobbs following her penalty corner injection into the danger area and getting a decisive touch on a Jodie Kenny’s drag flick. Despite conceding, it was the Black Sticks who posed the biggest threat for much of the opening two periods. Megan Hull had a goal ruled out by an umpire video referral due to the back stick, while Ella Gunson and Kirsten Pearce also went close before Australia doubled their advantage six minutes into the second period. Emily Chalker was the scorer, turning brilliantly before unleashing a blistering strike into the bottom corner past New Zealand goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon.

The Black Sticks halved the deficit just before halftime when Deanna Ritchie deflected home a pass from Stacey Michelsen, but Australia re-established the two goal advantage thanks to Savannah Fitzpatrick’s fourth goal of the FIH Pro League, beating O’Hanlon at her near post with a fierce forehand strike in the opening moments of the third period.

New Zealand created numerous opportunities in the third and fourth quarters, but their failure to convert their chances combined with Australia’s ruthlessness in front of goal proved their undoing. The Hockeyroos finished the match with a startling statistic of five goals from five shots, with Grace Stewart scoring a close range double from flowing team moves to complete a 5-1 victory on New Zealand soil.



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The Netherlands needed just two minutes to take the lead against hosts Germany, who were ruthlessly punished for conceding possession on the edge of the own circle by an interchange of Dutch passes that lead to 22-year-old striker Frederique Matla tapping home her fifth goal in six FIH Pro League matches. Whilst it was the worst possible start, the response from Die Danas was impressive, winning a trio of penalty corners but failing on each occasion to beat Netherlands goalkeeper Josine Koning.

Both teams were uncharacteristically disjointed in error-strewn second and third quarters, with penalty corner opportunities being wasted at either end of the pitch as the Oranje took their slender advantage into the final fifteen minutes.

Defender Kira Horn produced a brilliant, last-gasp tackle to stop Dutch attacker Freeke Moes putting the game out of reach for Germany, who had a glorious chance of their own when Franzisca Hauke found herself directly in front of goal but failed to connect with her attempted shot. Germany coach Xavier Reckinger replaced goalkeeper Nathalie Kubalski with an outfield player for the final three and a half minutes, but tThe Netherlands defense, expertly marshaled by the outstanding Lauren Stam, held firm for a fourth clean sheet in eight matches.

 


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Great Britain were held to a 1-1 draw by USA in their first FIH Pro League match on home soil, but emerged with two points from a possible three after winning the shootout on a windy day at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London.

The hosts - 3-1 winners against the USA in Pennsylvania last month - were frustrated for long periods before Giselle Ansley opened the scoring ahead of halftime, but Lauren Moyer’s third quarter strike prove to be enough to deny Great Britain an outright victory before reserve goalkeeper Amy Tennant came off the bench to help the home favorites earn a bonus point in the one-on-ones.

The best chances of what was a nervy opening quarter went the way of Great Britain, with Player of the Match Lily Owsley crafting a chance out of nothing with a surging 40 meter run that was let down by a tame shot easily cleared by USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing. The American goalkeeper looked certain to concede in the final minute of period when Erica Sanders sent a fine pass across the face of the USA goal, with both Hannah Martin and Laura Unsworth perfectly positioned but somehow failing to get that crucial touch in front of goal.

The second quarter was far more even than the first, with penalty corners opportunities being wasted at both ends of the field before a dramatic final minute of the half. Giselle Ansley triggered a huge roar from the watching fans at Lee Valley when she slammed home a low, powerful penalty corner drag flick, a lead that was almost cancelled out seconds later when Lauren Moyer had the goal at her mercy but hesitated with her shot, allowing Great Britain to take a 1-0 lead into the break.

The hosts were largely dominant in the third quarter and so nearly doubled their lead through Tessa Howard, who showed brilliant improvisation to smash a backhand volley toward the USA goal only for Bing to produce a spectacular save, diving to he left to push the ball away to safety. However, it was the USA who leveled the score, with Moyer on hand to tap in from close range from a second phase penalty corner.

Great Britain came closest to a winner in the final quarter when Ansley smashed a backhand effort that clipped the left corner of the goal. The hosts had been a couple of centimeters away from winning the contest, but instead now faced a shootout to determine which nation would claim the bonus point.

The goalkeepers were the stars of the shootout, with USA’s Bing making three saves but Amy Tennant - who replaced regular time goalkeeper Sabbie Heesh for the one-on-ones - only conceded once, with goals from Tessa Howard and Anna Toman sealing a 2-1 win to give Great Britain the bonus point.


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Germany was the dominant force in the opening two quarters against China and took a throughly deserved 2-1 advantage into halftime. The hosts found themselves behind after just two minutes when poor marking allowed Peng Yang complete freedom in the Germany circle, with the China striker's backhand strike finding the bottom right corner of Julia Sonntag's goal. Die Danas turned things around thanks to the penalty corner prowess of Nike Lorenz, who found the target either side of the quarter-time break to put Germany in control. Germany had numerous opportunities to extend their advantage, but another defensive lapse gave China a huge chance to equalize as Zhong Mengling and Zhang Xiaoxue burst through on goal but failed to find the net with only goalkeeper Sonntag to beat.

Germany remained the better team in the third and fourth quarters, eventually establishing a 3-1 lead in the final period when Hannah Granitzki’s clever reverse pass was emphatically converted by Lena Micheel before Charlotte Stapenhorst hit the post with an outrageous chip over China goalkeeper Ye Jiao.

Germany wrapped up the points with seven minutes to play thanks to Rebecca Grotto’s low penalty corner drag flick, helping Die Danas to both avenge last month’s 2-1 defeat against China in Changzhou and build confidence ahead of the meeting with USA in Mönchengladbach on Tuesday (30 April).



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Germany came into the contest against USA looking for a second successive win, aiming to add to their 4-1 victory over China - a match in which Lorenz scored twice - at the weekend. However, they faced USA that had gained a measure of confidence after a commendable performance in London, holding Olympic champions Great Britain to a 1-1 draw before missing out on the bonus point by losing the shootout.

While Die Danas were the superior side in the first two quarters, they certainly did not have it all their own way. Germany’s Lena Micheel scored the only goal of the half when she squeezed the ball between the legs of USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing in the 11th minute, with the Americans frustrating the hosts for long periods before almost equalizing just seconds before the interval when Danielle Grega’s rasping shot was saved wonderfully by the diving Nathalie Kubalski, who tipped the shot onto the crossbar.

Both sides had chances to score in the third quarter, but the USA played arguably their best hockey of the match in this period and snatched a leveler on the stroke of quarter-time. The goal came from a penalty corner, with Kubalski blocking two efforts but could do little about the third as Taylor West flicked into the roof of Germany’s net from close range.

West was in the thick of the action early in the fourth quarter, blocking two penalty corner efforts before goalkeeper Bing kept out another with an athletic save as the home favorites turned the screw. That pressure eventually told when a goal-bound strike hit the body of Anna Dessoye, resulting in a penalty stroke that was confidently converted by Nike Lorenz, sending Bing the wrong way to find the bottom right corner. The Americans rallied in the latter stages, but Germany showed no sign of panic, doing exactly what was required in order to see out the win.


 

 

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.