PRETORIA, South Africa – On day four of the 2023 FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup, the No. 12 U.S. Women’s National Indoor Team faced New Zealand at Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria, South Africa. Strong play, including a hat-trick from Hannah Miller, propelled USA to a 9-0 victory.
After a slow first 4 minutes of the opening quarter, USA’s patience paid off when Hannah Miller (Malvern, Pa.) netted the first of match with a lift from the right side. New Zealand attempted to strike back with a penalty corner, but a slow insert was intercepted by USA’s goalkeeper Elizabeth Tamburro (Phoenixville, Pa.). Seven minutes in, the first card was shown – a green card to New Zealand’s Oriwa Hepi. Shortly after, USA’s Annika Herbine (Macungie, Pa.) earned the penalty corner, leading to a stunning drag flick by Opal Sparling (Chester Springs, Pa.) that landed nicely in the top of the cage. Wasting no time after the restart, Sydney Mandato (Telford, Pa.) snatched the ball from a New Zealand defender and made the score 3-0 with a reverse flick goal. In the final 30 seconds of the quarter, Miller earned a penalty corner – leading to the fourth goal of the frame with a quick shot from Reese D’Ariano (West Chester, Pa.).
The start of the second quarter saw USA slow down their play, allowing for a few possession opportunities for New Zealand. Picking up the pace, the red, white and blue began to penetrate New Zealand's circle but to no avail. Seventeen minutes in, USA had a breakaway down the court leading to a 2v1 against New Zealand’s goalkeeper Madeleine Williamson, who substituted in for Georgia Mayo after the first quarter. Williamson stepped up to the task and shut it down with a save. In the final minute before the half, D’Ariano also saw a shot stopped by Williamson.
After receiving a fiery speech from head coach Jun Kentwell at the break, USA picked up their energy in the third after a scoreless second quarter. Just two minutes in, a series of quick and precise passes found the ball on the stick of Herbine, who made a low angle shot from the right side to make the score 5-0. A minute later, Herbine sent a cheeky reverse pass in the circle to D’Ariano who was able to guide it into the net and extend their lead. Continuing with their momentum, Miller tallied her second goal of the match off of a turnover on the left side to make it 7-0. To close out the final minute of the frame, New Zealand saw one of their best opportunities of the game, but were quickly shutdown by Tamburro.
With a large advantage on the side of the red, white and blue, New Zealand pushed to find energy in the final quarter. They started off on the attack, finding a foot of a USA defender off a save by Tamburro. The shot from New Zealand’s Oriwa Hepi sailed just high over the top of the cage. USA once again had to pick up their pace, and found themselves with a penalty corner opportunity in the 35th minute. However, the quick shot by Mandato was saved by Williamson. Another shot from the top was tipped on the post from D’Ariano, who hit a defender’s foot on the line but unfortunately didn't receive the call. Frustrations on the New Zealand side led to a 2-minute yellow card for captain Elizabeth Norman. With just a little over two minutes left to play, a strong finish by Mandato off a pass from Miller brought USA's advantage to 8-0. Topping off a great day, Miller tallied a hat-trick in the last minute of play to end the match with a final score of 9-0.
Following the game, USA’s Sydney Mandato was named Player of the Match.
USA returns to the court tomorrow, February 9, for their fifth and final pool game against The Netherlands at 1:30 a.m. ET.
For more information regarding the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup, visit the event page.
All photographs appearing on this site are property of USA Field Hockey/World Sport Pics. They are protected by the U.S. Copyright Laws, and are not to be downloaded, reproduced or used in any way without written permission of USA Field Hockey/World Sport Pics.
If you are a college SID, club coach, sponsor or media outlet, email email@example.com.