USWNT Suffers Loss to Australia in FIH Pro League

Images Taken by Mark Palczewski

May 10, 2019, 9:52 p.m. (ET)

LANCASTER, Pa. – May 10, 2019 – After a long road trip abroad for the month of April for the FIH Pro League, the U.S. Women’s National Team took on No. 3 Australia in their second meeting of the league. A morning filled with on-and-off storming left the status of the game unsure, but the sun came out just in time for the match. The USWNT came out strong during the second half after trailing by one goal, but Australia proved dominant as they notched three goals to put a USA comeback out of reach.

 

The first quarter began with a few attempts for the Hockeyroos. It was not until the fourth minute of play that Australia was awarded back-to-back penalty corners. The first shot was blocked by Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.), and the second met the pads of a diving Kelsey Bing (Houston, Tx.) andAshley Hoffman (Mohnton, Pa.) was able to clear it away from danger. A couple minutes later, Savannah Fitzpatrick sent the ball across the goal cage to be stopped by Casey Umstead (Green Lane, Pa.). Australia generated a handful of similar opportunities but they were turned away by the sticks of USA's defense. The twelfth minute proved to be action-packed, with a video referral by USA leading to another penalty corner for the Hockeyroos, where the drag flick attempt by Maddy Fitzpatrick went just wide of the goal mouth. The final minute of the first quarter brought more action in the USA’s attacking end. A last-minute play found Magadan making a quick give-and-go pass with Alyssa Manley (Lititz, Pa.), who sent it to Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.) for a quick shot attempt that was turned away by Australia goalkeeper Ashlee Wells. With neither team finding the back of the goal, the score was left even at 0-0. 

 

The second quarter opened with more attacking pressure by Australia. In the 18th minute, Ambrosia Malone managed to get a backhand shot off amidst traffic that hit the side net to give the Hockeyroos a 1-0 lead over USA. The red, white and blue continued to fight back, trying to create opportunities to even the score but struggled with keeping possession of the ball against the aggressive Australia press. USA earned their first penalty corner as Mackenzie Allessie (Mount Joy, Pa.) used her stick skills to find a foot in the circle. The drag by Hoffman was kicked away by the second Australia goalkeeper Rachael Lynch. The Hockeyroos came close to tallying another goal with a chance that Georgia Wilson touched toward goal, but Bing was there to smother it just in time. As the half came to a close, USA entered Australia’s circle as Allessie carried the ball but was unable to keep control. The score stood at 1-0 in favor of Australia heading into halftime.

 

Following the halftime break, Australia tried to break into USA's circle but Caitlin Van Sickle (Wilmington, Del.) intercepted the ball and sent it the other way. Seconds later, USA broke into the their attacking end leading to a shot by Hoffman, that went wide of the goal. USA brought more pressure as the Hockeyroos tired. On a turnover by Sophie Taylor of Australia, Anna Dessoye(Mountaintop, Pa.) capitalized and sent a shot inches from the goal mouth. Dessoye would try again a minute later with a backhanded shot off a pass from Allessie. The Hockeyroos picked up the pace in the second half of the quarter, with a close chance coming as Malone hit a bouncing ball at close range that went wide. USA countered the offensive pressure with a few opportunities. One when Linnea Gonzales (Bel Air, Md.) positioned herself in front of Wells, trying to get a touch but Wells managed a save. Another came when Lauren Moyer (York, Pa.) picked up the rebound and attempted a backhand that was defended well by Australia’s defense. At the end of the third quarter, the score remained Australia 1, USA 0.

 

The final quarter action started with a strong press by USA as Australia tried to maintain possession. Great strength by Manley gave USA an early circle entry and almost a penalty corner but kept the call from escalating. In the 50th minute, S. Fitzpatrick drilled the ball into the right corner of the goal to give the Hockeyroos a two-goal lead. Just thirty seconds later, S. Fitzpatrick capitalized again as a cross ball found the inside of the post for the third goal in favor of the Hockeyroos. With each attempt to counter by USA, Australia brought their own chance to add another goal to their lead. It would be Australia who had the last say when captain Emily Chalker tallied one more goal in the final minutes of the match as she redirected it past Bing. The horn sounded with the Australia tallying a 4-0 win.

 

Following the game, Ambrosia Malone earned Player of the Match for her goal that put Australia in the lead early in the game.  

"I think being within one goal at half time was encouraging for us," said Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.), USWNT captain, following the game. "I don't think we put forth our best effort at all in the first or second quarter. It was encouraging that we were only down by one. We made some changes in our press, we talked about some things we needed to change on the ball, and we were hoping to get more connections going into the second half." 

"I think we created a good amount of opportunities in the second half from our pressure higher up the field," continued Sharkey. "We weren't able to capitalize though, which is disappointing and frustrating, but we need to keep doing what we were doing because it was working."

The U.S. Women’s National Team’s next FIH Pro League match will be played at home on Sunday, May 12 at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa. against No. 4 Argentina. Tickets for these games are available and can be purchased by clicking here. For more information, check out the FIH Pro League event page by clicking here. #FIHProLeague