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News for 24 July 2017

All the news for Monday 24 July 2017

USA women & Belgium triumph at Hockey World League Semi-Finals

USA - winners of the women's Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg. Copyright: FIH / Getty Images

Johannesburg, South Africa: A wonderful Hockey World League Semi-Finals event drew to a close on Sunday, with USA women and the men of Belgium winning the showpiece finals in front of a capacity crowd at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Both finals were greeted by an electric atmosphere within the stadium, with USA taking dramatic shoot-out win over Germany’s women to secure a first place finish before Germany’s men also suffered defeat as Belgium’s Red Lions stormed to a 6-1 victory.

USA claimed three of the four individual awards in the women's competition, with Melissa Gonzalez named Best Player, Jackie Briggs Best Goalkeeper and Jill Witmer finishing top of the scoring charts with five goals. Germany's talented defender Nike Lorenz took the Best Young Player award. For more information on the women's individual award winners, click here.

Germany's Mats Grambusch was named Best Player in the men's competition, while Spain's Quico Cortes took the Best Goalkeeper prize. Red Lions duo Arthur Van Doren and Tom Boon (7 goals) took the Best Young Player and Top Scorer prizes respectively. For more information on the men's individual award winners, click here.

USA’s triumph over Germany in the women’s competition was certainly earned the hard way, with both teams locked in a tense tussle dominated by excellent defending for two score-less quarters. The deadlock was eventually broken by Camille Nobis, who beat Jackie Briggs with a superb near-post deflection in the third quarter.

It was a lead that they held until the 58th minute when Taylor West forced a shoot-out with a clinical penalty stroke conversion. As always, the shoot-out itself was packed full of drama, but it was USA who prevailed 3-2 thanks to conversions from Melissa Gonzalez, Michelle Vitesse and a remarkable, composed winner from 17-year-old Erin Matson, all capitalising on some crucial blocks from the outstanding Briggs.

“Germany is an incredible opponent, so we knew it was going to be a battle", said USA’s Michelle Vitesse. “It feels really good to come out on top. I’m proud of the team, proud of the work we put into it and the preparation we took to be ready.”

Belgium were rampant in the men's final, gaining a measure of revenge against a Germany side that defeated them in the pool phase. A sensational backhand penalty corner strike from Arthur Van Doren put Belgium ahead at the end of the first quarter before Tom Grambusch restored parity a minute into the second period with a penalty corner of his own. Belgium took a 4-1 lead into half time thanks to strikes from Tom Boon, Amaury Keusters and Cedric Charlier. After a tight third quarter, Charlier and Agustin Meurmans took the score to 6-1 to complete the scoring.

"Of course I am happy that we won, but it was the level of performance that was most pleasing", said Arthur Van Doren, the Best Young Player of the competition. "Germany are a world class side, as they showed when they beat us in the pool. We knew we had to play well to beat them."

The men's final was also an emotional one for John Wright, who ended his illustrious international umpiring career officiating the match alongside his younger brother and fellow international umpire Peter. John’s glittering career included umpiring at four World Cups and five Olympic Games. He took charge of consecutive World Cup Finals in 2006, 2010, and 2014 as well as the Olympic gold medals matched at Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016.

The third place matches were won by the women of England and Australia men, who saw off the respective challenges of Argentina and Spain.

England were superb in their 5-2 triumph over Argentina, with Sophie Bray forcing home a close range opener in the first quarter before Las Leonas levelled through Lucina von der Heyde. Susannah Townsend started and finished a flowing team move to put England back in front three minutes before the break, but Argentina restored parity once again on the stroke of half time thanks to a clever deflection from Delfina Merino. England kicked on in the third and fourth quarters, with defender Laura Unsworth scoring a rare goal before Giselle Ansley grabbed a double, netting a penalty stroke and a penalty corner drag-flick.

“We are thrilled to finish with a win, and it was a really professional performance out there”, said England’s Giselle Ansley. “It has been a long tournament so it is good to finish on a high. We’ve got about three weeks to until the European Championships, so the win gives us confidence before we head out to Amsterdam.”

Australia produced their most complete performance of the competition in the men’s 3-4 classification game, powering to an 8-1 victory over Spain. The Kookaburras were in scintillating form against the Red Sticks, a side they had narrowly beaten the pool phase. However, today’s meeting was a very different story, with the Kookaburras opening up a 4-0 lead going into half time before adding another four before Spain Pau Quemada grabbed a late consolation goal from a penalty corner. Jeremy Hayward and Aaron Kleinschmidt both scored twice for Australia, with Jake Whetton, Tom Craig, Trent Mitton and Tom Wickham also on target.

“We are a new group learning about each other so it was really important to take that third place today”, said Jake Whetton following the contest. “We had a tough game against Belgium the other night and we had to recuperate. We wanted to finish strong here and we have done, so very happy with third and we’ll build from here.”

Hockey World League Semi-Finals - Johannesburg, South Africa

Results: Sunday 23rd July 2017

Women 3/4: England 5, Argentina 2
Men 3/4: Australia 8, Spain 1
Women Final: USA 1, Germany 1 (3-2 after shoot-out)
Men Final: Belgium 6, Germany 1

Classification Men
1: Belgium
2: Germany
3: Australia
4: Spain
5: Ireland
6: New Zealand
7: France
8: Egypt
9: South Africa
10: Japan

Classification Women
1: USA
2: Germany
3: England
4: Argentina
5: South Africa
6: Japan
7: Ireland
8: India
9: Chile
10: Poland

Individual Awards


Best Player: Mats Grambusch (GER)
Best Goalkeeper: Quico Cortes (ESP)
Best Junior Player: Arthur van Doren (BEL)
Top Scorer: Tom Boon (BEL) - 7 goals


Best Player: Melissa Gonzalez (USA)
Best Goalkeeper: Jackie Briggs (USA)
Best Junior Player: Nike Lorenz (GER)
Top Scorer: Jill Witmer (USA) - 5 goals

FIH site

Hockey World League Semi-Final 2017 Men's Award Winners: Johannesburg

Winners Belgium dominated the Awards ceremony Photo: FIH/Getty


Mats Grambusch (GER)

The German captain led by example throughout the event, bossing the midfield with fierce tackling and an abundance of creativity. His exemplary skill and penetrating passes helped Germany reach the final and despite losing to Belgium he will be happy having helped his team qualify for both the Hockey World League Final 2017 and Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.


Arthur Van Doren (BEL)

This tournament has been one to remember for FIH Hockey Stars 2016 Young Player of the Year Arthur Van Doren. The Belgian wonderkid helped his team win this event through some commanding performances in Belgium's defence. A rock at the back, he provided the foundations for Belgium to build their attacks. Hard in the tackle and precise with his passing, this young superstar will no doubt be at the heart of the Belgian team for many years to come.


Quico Cortes (ESP)

The Spanish goalkeeper was the difference in so many of his team's matches, making crucial saves when it mattered. He was one of the reasons Spain made the 3v4 classification match and whilst he will be disappointed by his team's performance in that game his early tournament form saw him gain many new fans across the world with his world-class saves in the Spanish goal.


Tom Boon (BEL)

Belgian superstar Tom Boon smashed home seven goals throughout the competition on their way to winning the event. His eye for goal proved crucial as his team progressed through the Pool stages and into the quarters, semi's then the final. He scored the crucial opening goal in the final which inspired his team on to their 6-1 victory. Whilst the Red Lions have goals throughout their team, Boon's prowess in front of goal was the difference in so many of Belgium's matches throughout this event.

FIH site

Hockey World League Semi-Final 2017 Women's Award Winners: Johannesburg

USA picked up a number of awards in Johannesburg Photo: FIH/Getty Images


Melissa Gonzalez (USA)

Captain America Melissa Gonzalez led her team to glory in Johannesburg. Dominating games with her athleticism and passion, she inspired her team to their best finishes at a top level event in recent years. Like goalkeeper Jackie Briggs, Gonzalez proved crucial in both the semi-final and final shootout, her goals firing USA to victory.


Nike Lorenz (GER)

Germany are a team on the up and much of their success has been influenced by an injection of gifted youth into this exciting team. One of the many exceptional talents at this event was German wonderkid Nike Lorenz. Solid in defence, the 20 year-old plays beyond her years, breaking up opposition attacks time and time again with typical German efficiency. Despite their loss in the final, with Nike Lorenz at the back the future of German women's hockey looks to be in safe hands.


Jackie Briggs (USA)

Experienced 'keeper Jackie Briggs was consistently brilliant for the United States. Her reliability and command in goal provided a solid base for the US women to build upon. Despite outstanding shot-stopping throughout the event, her standout moments came during the shootouts against England in the semi-final and Germany in the final. Her heroics, combined with some excellent finishing from her team-mates, won USA this event for the first time in their history.


Jill Witmer (USA)

Her four field goals and one penalty corner were key to USA's road to victory. The 25-year-old striker will certainly be an asset for USA for many years to come. Her tireless running is key to opening up spaces and creating opportunities for her team, which, in addition to her clinical finishing in front of goal made her one of the most dangerous players at this event.

FIH site

Germany lose both the men's & women's finals

by Ken Borland

The Germans had the chance to be uber alles on the last day of the Hockey World League at Wits Astro on Sunday, but unfortunately lost in both the men’s and women’s finals.

The loss in the women’s final, against the United States, was particularly heartbreaking as it came in a shootout, after Germany had scored the opening goal, only for the Americans to snatch the equaliser with just two minutes left.

The men’s final was nowhere near as thrilling, as Belgium produced hockey of the highest standard to storm to a 6-1 victory, firmly laying to rest the 3-2 defeat they had suffered at the hands of the Germans in the pool stages.

Belgium’s pace, skill, use of space and understanding of the angles on a hockey field were all outstanding, especially in the second quarter, when they scored three goals to go into halftime 4-1 up and leaving Germany with a near-insurmountable task to catch them.

Highlights for Belgium were Arthur van Doren, who rescued a short-corner that had gone wrong for the first goal, providing a superb ball into the circle for Amaury Keusters to one-time into goal with a great deflection; Cedric Charlier’s dazzling run that brought the fourth goal and his deftest of touches to deflect a super long ball from Gauthier Boccard into goal after Germany had replaced their ‘keeper with a kicking back.

The USA women had been chasing the game against a dominant German side, and had goalkeeper Jackie Briggs to thank for being only 1-0 down, Camille Nobis steering home the opening goal from Marie Mavers’ cross after she had picked up a deflected slap by Nina Notman.

It was only in the final quarter that the USA managed to impose themselves on a German defence expertly led by Janne Muller-Wieland, with Kathleen Sharkey causing problems with some great runs up front.

Then, with two minutes to go, Sharkey was off on another sortie and defender Nike Lorenz stick-hacked her and leaned into her with the shoulder, causing the 27-year-old Olympian to lose the ball. According to the laws of the game, umpire Carolina de la Fuente of Argentina had no option but to award a penalty stroke.

Germany employed the surprise tactic of replacing their goalkeeper just before the stroke, but Taylor West found the top corner of the goal with ease.

The drama of a shootout then decided the final, with the USA obviously enjoying a big advantage thanks to the brilliance and experience of goalkeeper Briggs. She saved Lorenz’s shot and superbly channelled German captain Jana Teschke away from goal, before Franzisca Hauke beat her but only managed to get the ball into the goal just 0.4 seconds after the hooter.

The responsibility of deciding the shootout then fell to 17-year-old Erin Matson, and she was as cool as a veteran as she calmly finished and claimed the first title for a young American team going through a time of rebuilding.

It was an amazing turnaround in fortunes for the USA, who lost two games in  the pool stages.

One of the teams that beat them were South Africa, and they completed a fine end to the tournament on Saturday by beating Japan 2-1 to claim fifth place.

Results: Men’s 3rd/4th – Australia 8 (Jake Whetton, Jeremy Hayward 2, Aaron Kleinschmidt 2, Tom Craig, Trent Mitton, Tom Wickham) Spain 1 (Pau Quemada); Women’s 3rd/4th – England 5 (Sophie Bray, Susannah Townsend, Laura Unsworth, Giselle Ansley 2) Argentina 2 (Lucina von der Heyde, Delfina Merino); Women’s final – United States 1 (Taylor West) Germany 1 (Camille Nobis), USA beat Germany 3-2 in shootout (Erin Matson, Melissa Gonzalez, Michelle Vittese vs Janne Muller-Wieland, Marie Mavers); Men’s final – Belgium 6 (Arthur van Doren, Tim Boon, Amaury Keusters, Cedric Charlier 2, Augustin Meurmans) Germany 1 (Tom Grambusch).

Final standings

Women: 1 USA; 2 Germany; 3 England; 4 Argentina; 5 South Africa; 6 Japan; 7 Ireland; 8 India; 9 Chile; 10 Poland.

Men: 1 Belgium; 2 Germany; 3 Australia; 4 Spain; 5 Ireland; 6 New Zealand; 7 France; 8 Egypt; 9 South Africa; 10 Japan.


Belgium, USA crowned hockey champions

by Karien Jonckheere

Belgium National Hockey Team © BackpagePix

After 16 days of top-class international action at the Wits Astro in Johannesburg, USA and Belgium emerged as the women’s and men’s winners of the Hockey World League on Sunday.

For the American women it was a particularly special victory considering they had lost two of their matches (one of those against South Africa) in the pool stages of the tournament. And with just over two minutes to go in the final against Germany, it looked like they were destined for another defeat.

Germany had put immense pressure on the US defence throughout most the match and they were finally rewarded for their efforts when Camille Nobis deflected the ball in off a shot from Marie Mavers in the 38th minute.

The Germans looked well on their way to victory but the Americans came back at them in the dying minutes. When Amelie Wortmann was sent off with two and a half minutes to play, the pressure was really on Germany, who then succumbed and gave away a penalty stroke. USA’s Taylor West lifted it in to the top left corner for the equaliser, which ultimately sent the match into a shootout.

The USA would have been licking their lips at that prospect, considering they booked their spot in the final with a shootout victory over England in the semifinal just a few days ago. And once again, they proved to be masters at it. Tied at 2-2 after four attempts each, Germany’s Franzisca Hauke’s shot took four tenths of a second too long to cross the line in the allocated eight seconds so didn’t count. That meant if USA scored on their final attempt they’d win the match.

At just 17 years old, Erin Matson showed incredible composure as she stepped up to do the honours, making it look easy as she slotted it past German keeper Lisa Schneider for the 3-2 victory.

“It feels incredible,” said USA captain Melissa Gonzalez, who was later named player of the tournament.

“For me the shootout was just fun. We just had the mentality of – it is what it is, it’s hockey, it’s fun. There’s going to be a winner and a loser so we just approached it from that mental aspect. We practise them all the time and I was fortunate – some nights if works and some it doesn’t.

“We had 11 retirements after the Rio Olympics so a lot of our young girls haven’t ever played against players of this level before. But they just stepped up, they’re willing to learn and I can’t say enough good things about them.”

As for 17-year-old Matson, Gonzalez added: “We’re so proud of her. We joked that we still need her parents’ signatures on things when we travel abroad but she’s great. She’s exciting to watch, she’s skilful and I’m really excited to see what kind of player she turns out to be because right now she’s doing great things for us.”

Meanwhile, the Belgian men’s 6-1 victory over Germany was a far more straightforward affair. Having lost out to the Germans in the pool stages of the tournament, the Belgians looked determined and ruthless throughout the final.


Belgium produce clinical, high-intense play to trounce Germany 6-1 in final

Johannesburg: Belgium scored three goals in eight second-quarter minutes to demolish Germany 6-1 Sunday in a Men's Hockey World League tournament final in Johannesburg.

The unexpected heavy defeat for the Germans completed a miserable day for the nation as the women's team dominated their final against the United States only to lose in a shootout.

A high intensity, fast tempo and supremely clinical display swept the Belgian "Red Lions" to victory at a cold University of the Witwatersrand and avenged a 3-2 pool loss.

Belgium were ahead within 14 minutes, led 4-1 at half-time on an astro turf pitch and scored two more goals in the final three minutes before a sell-out crowd in the tiny makeshift stadium.

Arthur van Doren, scorer of the opening goal from a penalty corner and winner of the best young player award, said the triumph was special.

"It is a very special feeling to defeat Germany in a final because they are a world-class team," he said.

Belgian Tom Boon, who was the tournament's leading scorer with seven goals, said: "I am proud to be part of this great team and I am sure they will help me spend my $950 (815 euros) prize."

"The Belgians are something else," said final umpire John Wright, a South African handling his 219th and last international before retiring.

Germany captain Mats Grambusch, whose brother Tom equalised off a penalty corner, admitted the team ranked third in the world were second best to fifth-ranked Belgium.

"Belgium were a lot better than us tonight, but I am looking forward to playing with this young team during the next few years," he said.

A consolation for Grambusch was being voted the best player of the 16-day tournament, while veteran Spaniard Francisco "Quico" Cortes took the best goalkeeper award.

After Van Doren and Tom Grambusch exchanged goals, Boon, Amaury Keusters and a brilliant solo goal from Cedric Charlier put the Belgians in command by half-time.

Germany could not convert third-quarter dominance into goals, and the gamble of replacing their goalkeeper with an outfield player backfired when Charlier scored again.

In a strange move, the Germans then ditched the "kicking back" and bought goalkeeper Tobias Walter back on, but he was helpless as Augustin Meurmans completed the rout.

Australia set the trend of wide winning margins by trouncing Spain 8-1 in the third-place play-off, with Jeremy Hayward and Aaron Kleinschmidt bagging braces.


USWNT Produce ‘Never Say Die’ Performance on Way to Being Crowned FIH Hockey World League Semifinals Champions

Images courtesy of Rodrigo Jaramillo and Getty Images/FIH

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – July 23, 2017 – In front of a sold-out crowd at Wits University, the No. 6 U.S. Women’s National Team and No. 7 Germany both ran on the field before the anthems with one goal in mind – to win the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals title match. After being scoreless at the half, Germany found the backboard in the third quarter. USA used pure grit and determination to find the equalizer off a penalty stroke late in the game. This forced shootouts where USA would come out on top 3-2 to become champions.

"Playing a final against a quality team like Germany, you know you have to be ready," said Janneke Schopman USWNT Head Coach. "We struggled with their shape but kept fighting and that's why I love this team. Maybe it wasn't pretty but we didn't give up and managed to create something from nothing."

Play for much of the first quarter was held between the 25 yard lines as both teams looked for positive circle outcomes. USA had a few chances formed by quick passes that lead to numbers up situations but failed to find a result. A close chance came in the 12th minute of play when Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) intercepted the ball in the middle of the field to produce a 2v2 situation heading toward goal. The first quarter finished locked at zeroes.

Play resumed in the same fashion at the start of the second quarter before Germany found some momentum and put USA on their heels. As Germany continued the constant attacking, USA shifted to a half field press actively looking to intercept the ball. A chance came in the 22nd minute for Germany when there was a scramble in front of the goal but the play was successfully shutdown by USA’s defense. This sparked a 5-minute span for Germany as breaks presented themselves but USA goalkeeper Jackie Briggs (Robesonia, Pa.) and defense halted the attacks. Continuing to play in a half field press, USA maintained Germany to keep it 0-0 at halftime.

Trying to enforce their quickness, USA started the third quarter with speed taking the ball into their offensive end. Germany responded moving possession the other way but Caitlin Van Sickle (Wilmington, Del.) was there to make the stop. USA’s defense continued to be tested but as a unit they held strong. In the 38th minute, Germany hit a hard ball into their circle, possession found a striker on the baseline who dumped it across and it was putted in by Camille Nobis to give Germany a 1-0 lead. USA shifted gears and pushed forward creating looks of their own but were unable to convert before the quarter was over.

USA knew they had to work together in the final 15 minutes in search for the equalizer. They withstood constant Germany pressure by using effective communication and being determined on defense. In the 58th minute, when Kat Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.) drove hard into the circle, stayed strong on the ball and was pushed off aggressively by a German defender, a penalty stroke was given. Taylor West (Princess Anne, Md.) stepped up to the mark and with poise successfully executed the stroke to tie the match at 1-1 and send it into a shootout.

The first four attempts saw Gonzalez and Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) send the ball into the goal and on the defending side Briggs blocked two of Germany’s attempts. Heading into the fifth and final round of shootouts, the score was 2-2 producing a nail bitter. Germany’s fifth attempt went into the goal but did not cross the goal line before the 8-second horn went so it was disallowed. This left Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.), one of the youngest athletes in the tournament, to go for USA. Stepping up to the 25-yard line, Matson sprinted forward after the whistle, pulled right and hit the backboard to secure the win.

“The last five minutes of the game were an athletes’ dream,” said Vittese. “Our energy was incredibly positive, we fed off each other’s high work load and intensity. We took accountability of our individual roles and executed our jobs. Most importantly, we stayed together.”

“Germany is an incredible opponent and we had to fight tooth and nail to earn the penalty stroke,” added Vittese. “It was an incredible team effort and I couldn’t be prouder of this group.”

Three different USA athlete also received honors for their incredible performances. Jill Witmer (Lancaster, Pa.) earned Top Goal Scorer of the Tournament, tallying five goals throughout the event. Briggs earned Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament following her impressive defense during two shootout victories and Gonzalez was named Best Player of the Tournament for her leadership and constant hustle.

Top Goal Scorer of the Tournament: Jill Witmer

Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Jackie Briggs

Best Player of the Tournament: Melissa Gonzalez

"This tournament was a great learning experience and I am very pleased with the development of the whole team," finished Schopman.

At FIH Hockey World League Semifinals, USA persevered to come back to defeat the only two teams to upset them in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In similar fashion, USA scored in the final minutes of regulation to force both matches into a shootout where they were victorious.

Don’t miss the USWNT in action back on American soil at the 2017 women’s Pan American Cup on Saturday, August 5 when they face No. 30 Mexico at 7:00 p.m. ET.

USFHA media release

Erin Matson's shootout goal clinches win, Hockey World League Semifinals gold for Team USA

After tying goal from Taylor West, USA Field Hockey beats Germany in shootout


US women's Taylor West (11) redirected this ball into the cage but the goal was called back as Caitlin Van Sickle (28) backs up the play against Ireland's goalie Ayeisha McFerran (19) and Elena Tice (12) work on defense on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Suzette Wenger

For the second time in as many games, the U.S. women's field hockey team found itself down by a goal with just minutes left to play.

After rallying to beat England in a sudden-death shootout on Thursday, Team USA showed its determination again Sunday morning at the Wits Hockey Club in Johannesburg, South Africa. Taylor West connected on a penalty stroke with 2:08 remaining to tie Germany 1-1, before Erin Matson netted the Americans' final shootout tally to claim gold at the Hockey World League Semifinals.

The 3-2 win capped off an impressive seven-game performance for Team USA, which also took home a trio of personal honors. Jackie Briggs was recognized as Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament, Melissa Gonzalez was named the Crossroads Player of the Tournament and former Penn Manor Comet Jill Witmer finished as the Hero Top Scorer of the Tournament with five goals.

"Playing a final against a quality team like Germany, you know you have to be ready," U.S. coach Janneke Schopman said via a team release. "We struggled with their shape but kept fighting and that's why I love this team. Maybe it wasn't pretty, but we didn't give up and managed to create something from nothing."

Germany led statically for most of the game, peppering Briggs with shots late in the second quarter. The FIH No. 7 squad held an 8-1 advantage in shots at the half — with four of those attempts on target compared to just one for the U.S. — but couldn't find the back of the net until midway through the third quarter.

A hard hit ball bounced off of a defender and out to Marie Mavers on the left baseline. Mavers then swept the ball toward the front of the cage, where Camille Nobis was stationed to redirect the shot between Briggs and the post for the 1-0 German advantage.

No. 6 Team USA applied more pressure in the fourth quarter, starting with a backhander from Kat Sharkey just a minute into the final period. While Sharkey had her shot saved, as did Lauren Moyer minutes later, the U.S. defense held strong as Germany tried to add an insurance goal.

The next tally would come for Team USA, however, as Sharkey tried to capitalize on a one-player advantage following a yellow card to Germany's Amelie Wortman.

Working her way into the circle, Sharkey was met by a German defender and earned a penalty stroke in the 58th minute. Germany made a switch in goal, replacing Julia Ciupka with Lisa Schneider, but West had no problem lifting the ball into the top left corner of the cage for the equalizer.

“The last five minutes of the game were an athletes’ dream,” U.S. midfielder Michelle Vittese said in the release. “Our energy was incredibly positive, we fed off each other’s high work load and intensity. We took accountability of our individual roles and executed our jobs. Most importantly, we stayed together.”

“Germany is an incredible opponent and we had to fight tooth and nail to earn penalty stroke,” she continued. “It was an incredible team effort and I couldn’t be prouder of this group.”

The Americans maintained possession as the final minute ticked off the clock, but couldn't score again. Instead, they sent Gonzalez, Vittese, Sharkey, Warwick graduate Alyssa Manley and Matson into the shootout.

Team USA briefly held a 2-1 lead after Gonzalez and Vittese scored, but Germany's Mavers would tie the shootout 2-2 before Matson stepped up for the final attempt.

The 17-year-old, who will be a senior at Unionville High School in Chadds Ford, Pa. this spring, sprinted to her left to fake out the goalie and then pulled right, easily depositing the ball into the backboard to grab gold.

The result mirrors Thursday's final, where the U.S. scored on Witmer's goal in the final three minutes before England retied the game with a tally on its final shootout attempt. Gonzalez would then score on Team USA's first shot in sudden death to earn the semifinal win.

Sunday's final also provides the U.S. with a taste of revenge after Germany eliminated the squad from the Olympics last summer. Germany would go on to win bronze at the Rio Games, while the U.S. finished fifth.

By finishing in the top four at the Hockey World League Semifinals, Team USA qualified for the Hockey World League Final in Auckland, New Zealand. It's the first time the U.S. has ever qualified for the tournament, which will be held November 11-26.

There, Team USA, Germany, England and Argentina will face off against the four qualifiers from the June Semifinals in Brussels, Belgium — the Netherlands, China, New Zealand and Korea.

The U.S. also earned a berth in the 2018 World Cup, which will be played in London July 21-August 5.

Before that, Team USA will return home to host the Pan American Cup. Both the men's and women's tournaments will be held at Spooky Nook Sports August 4-13.

Lancaster Online

Outplayed USA grab women's title in shootout

JOHANNESBURG: A never-say-die United States team defeated Germany 3-2 in a shootout after a 1-1 draw Sunday to win a Women's Hockey World League tournament in Johannesburg.

The Americans were outplayed for much of the title decider on an astro turf pitch at the University of the Witwatersrand and lucky to be trailing by only one goal.

But the nation ranked sixth in the world -- one place above the Germans -- were awarded a penalty stroke with two minutes left and Taylor West equalised.

Teenager Camilla Nobis had put Germany ahead on 38 minutes by deflecting a cross past outstanding American goalkeeper Jackie Briggs.

The teams were deadlocked at 2-2 in the shootout after four attempts each, piling pressure on the next participants, German Franzisca Hauke and American Erin Matson.

Hauke scored only for the "goal" to be disallowed because the hooter sounded to signal that the permitted eight seconds had elapsed up just before the ball crossed the line.

Teenager Matson had a chance to win the tournament and made no mistake, calmly firing past goalkeeper Lisa Schneider, who replaced Julia Ciupka for the shootout.

"We are a really resilient team who work together and I am proud to lead them," said United States skipper Melissa Gonzalez, voted the best player of the tournament.

Briggs was named the best goalkeeper and downplayed her many saves during the match and two in the shootout.

"I did not win the tournament -- my team did," she stressed. "I just did what I could to assist my team-mates."

Jill Witmer was another American prize-winner, receiving the leading scorer award after netting five times.

Giselle Ansley scored twice in the final quarter -- off a penalty corner and a penalty stroke -- to seal a 5-2 win by England over Argentina in the third place play-off.

The Times of India

Kookaburras dominate Spain to finish 3rd at World League Semi-Final

AUS 8 - 1 ESP

Holly MacNeil

Australia have taken out third place at the World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg, South Africa tonight, defeating Spain 8 – 1 and qualifying for the World League Final and the 2018 World Cup along the way.

The game began with both Australia and Spain fighting for possession of the ball, but it wasn’t long before Australia took control of the game. Jake Whetton cracked the score board seven minutes in when he smacked the ball straight into the net from the top of the D.

Spain had their chance minutes later with a penalty corner opportunity, however their shot on goal was easily saved by Australian keeper Tyler Lovell.

The Kookaburras were quick to reply with their own opportunity at a penalty corner and the injection from Daniel Beale was drag flicked with speed into the back of the net by Jeremy Hayward, giving Australia a 2 – nil advantage within the first ten minutes of play.

Coming back from the first break and Spain were quick off the mark with two attempts on goal within the first minute, both of which were saved with ease by Tyler Lovell.

Tom Craig followed on by sprinting the ball up to the Australian D before the Kookaburras were awarded a penalty corner. The opportunity was taken with Jeremy Hayward again using a powerful drag flick to score his second goal.

With just three minutes to go in the first half Trent Mitton took control of the ball, working it down into the Australian D before shooting at the net with Aaron Kleinschmidt tapping the ball on to give Australia their fourth goal.

Minutes into the second half and Mitton and Kleinschmidt teamed up again. Mitton moved the ball along the baseline before passing to Kleinschmidt who was positioned directly in front of the net to flick the ball into goal.

Scoring Australia’s sixth goal was Tom Craig who worked the ball in from a long corner to shoot it into the left of the net with a powerful flick.

In the final minute of play for the quarter it was Trent Mitton’s turn to score, a reverse flick from the top of the D brushing past a Spanish stick before it knocked into goal giving Australia a 7 – nil lead with 15 minutes of play remaining.

With just two minutes remaining in the game Australia scored their eighth goal with a pass from Tristan White reaching Tom Wickham who knocked the ball into the net.

Spain finally made their mark on the game with just over a minute of play to go; a penalty corner goal from Pau Quemada getting Spain on the board and leaving the final score at AUS 8 – 1 ESP.

Kookaburras head coach Colin Batch said: “ Obviously we had an outstanding game and it was nice to finish the tournament with a performance like that. Full credit to the players in the progress we’ve made in the tournament. It’s given us a lot of belief in the team going forward.

“We’ve ticked a few boxes in this tournament qualifying for World League Final and the 2018 World Cup, which will give us a good structure going forward. It means a lot to us finishing third in the competition, obviously we would have liked to have played in the final but we’re happy with the bronze medal.”

The Kookaburras will contest the World League Final in December.

Jake Whetton 7 (FG)
Jeremy Hayward 10, 18 (PC, PC)
Aaron Kleinschmidt 27, 34 (FG, FG)
Tom Craig 36 (FG)
Trent Mitton 45 (FG)
Tom Wickham 58 (FG)

SPAIN 1 (0)
Pau Quemada 59 (PC)

Kookaburras squad v ESP
Athlete (Hometown/State)
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 103/16
Matt Dawson (Killarney Vale, NSW) 79/10
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 86/32
Aaron Kleinschmidt (Melbourne, VIC) 26/8
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD) 302/27
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA) 90/0
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 119/51
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 131/54
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 92/6
Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah, NSW) *plays for QLD 43/10
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA) 113/16

Used Substitutes
Kiran Arunasalam (Doncaster East, VIC) 11/1
Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT) 135/0
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW) 41/15
Jeremy Edwards (Hobart, TAS) 25/2
Tom Wickham (Morgan, SA) *plays for WA 19/5

Unused Substitutes
Josh Pollard (Melbourne, VIC) 22/2
Matt Swann (Mackay, QLD) 156/7

Hockey Australia media release

England beat Argentina to take bronze

Susannah Townsend v Argentina

England powered to a 5-2 win over Argentina to claim bronze at the Hockey World League Semi-finals in Johannesburg.

A brace from Giselle Ansley and strikes from Sophie Bray, Susannah Townsend and Laura Unsworth guided England to victory in an enthralling encounter.

Having lost to the USA on penalty strokes in the semi-final, England responded in a big way to convincingly beat world number three ranked side Argentina to finish the tournament on a high.

Reflecting on the match, coach David Ralph said: "We are delighted with the result today and what pleased us more is our performance.

"To pick ourselves up from the semi-final result and play like that shows the character within this group."

The game’s first chance fell to Argentina inside just four minutes but the shot flew high over the bar, England responded though but Grace Balsdon’s high drag flick was well saved by Belen Succi who palmed away the effort.

Two minutes before the first break of an even opening quarter England took the lead. Lily Owsley broke down the right with a powerful run into the circle, her cut back caused a scramble inside the area which saw the ball fall to Bray who tapped home from close range.

Argentina fought back in the second quarter forcing Maddie Hinch into action, she saved well from Noel Barrionuevo’s penalty corner but moments later could do nothing as Lucina Von der Heyde pulled away from her marker and unleashed a fierce reverse stick strike into the bottom corner.

Shortly before the half-time break England pulled ahead through a fine flowing move on the break, Bray found Nicola White on the right wing who crossed to Townsend whose first time effort slotted past Succi.

However with twenty five seconds of the half remaining Argentina levelled as Delfina Merino got a clever touch on a crashed ball into the circle to deflect past Hinch.

After the break England came flying out the blocks and soon restored their lead through Unsworth. Danson struck the ball into the circle and Hannah Martin’s deflection rattled the post before Jo Hunter crossed to Unsworth who passed into the open goal.

England took this lead into the final quarter and two goals in two minutes from Ansley put England into a dominant position. Good work from Danson won a penalty corner and Ansley converted her drag flick powerfully.

A minute later another storming run from Owsley saw her break into the Argentina half and into the circle where she was brought down by Succi allowing Ansley to step up and finish from the spot.

Some late pressure from Argentina was comfortably dealt with by the English back line as they saw out the closing minutes to seal the win and take bronze.

England Hockey Board Media release

Sothern strikes to guarantee Irish ticket to World Cup

Ireland’s men celebrate their qualification for the 2018 World Cup. Pic: FIH/Getty

Alan Sothern’s 49th minute saw Ireland’s men land World Cup qualification for the first time since 1990 as his solo goal saw off New Zealand in the World League’s fifth place playoff under Johannesburg’s Saturday night lights.

It formalised another major milestone for the green machine as they beat the Blacksticks for the first time ever, a lucky 13th meeting between the sides.

Ireland’s ticket to India 2018 was pretty much assured with Friday’s success against France. But this victory meant there was no waiting game for continental championships outcomes like in the Olympic qualifying process two years ago, allowing Craig Fulton and his side to savour the moment without any doubts.

“It was a win built on character and defence,” he said of the performance. “We wanted to come away with qualification and that’s really pleasing from tonight, it was a great squad effort.”

Ireland started well with Shane O’Donoghue drawing a top block from Richard Joyce early on before having to endure sustained kiwi pressure. Hugo Inglis rattled David Harte’s near post with an absolute rocket in the first half while Hayden Phillips put a gilt-edged chance wide after the big break.

By that stage, their numbers had been trimmed further with Eugene Magee going off with an ankle injury, joining John McKee – a broken collar bone victim – on the sidelines.

Harte produced a double save as Ireland threw bodies on the line at regular intervals to protect their clean sheet before nabbing their winner with 11 minutes to go.

Chris Cargo’s cross was booted away by goalkeeper Devon Manchester but only as far as Sothern and the poacher supreme flicked in his third goal of the tournament.

From there, they showed the battling defensive qualities that served them so well against France to get them over the line and into the World Cup.

“Over the moon,” Jonathan Bell added. “The shift the guys put in was absolutely fantastic. It wasn’t the prettiest hockey but that doesn’t really matter because we are through to the World Cup.

“We were bitterly disappointed to lose the quarter-final to Spain where we felt we had a lot of the game but we came back really strong [against France], putting in back-to-back performances. This victory is testament to the character and belief in the squad.”

Hockey World League Semi-Final, 5th place playoff
Ireland 1 (A Sothern)
New Zealand 0

Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, M Bell, C Cargo, M Nelson, A Sothern, E Magee, S O’Donoghue, P Gleghorne, C Harte, S Cole
Subs: J Bell, N Glassey, S Murray, J Duncan, S Loughrey, J Carr

New Zealand: R Joyce, N Haig, N Ross, N Woods, B Tarrant, A Panchia, S McAleese, S Jenness, H Inglis, G Muir, H Phillips
Subs: D Brydon, S Lane, M Child, J Panchia, K Russell, D Manchester, L Mitai-Wells

The Hook

PAC Preview: Women’s Athletes to Watch

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Top global talent will hit the outdoor pitch at Spooky Nooks Sports in Lancaster, Pa. in just two weeks for the 2017 Pan American Cups (PAC). With three of the participating women’s teams coming off recent play at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals in South Africa and others who have been actively preparing for the event, it sure will be a battle of the Americas as remarkable skills will be showcased.

The women’s division of PAC will feature some significant and key athletes, who have exceptional skills, as they look to aid their teams to the top. Stop by Spooky Nook Sports from August 4-13, to see these hockey icons thrive under the pressure.

No. 3 Argentina
Coming off a heartbreaking semifinal loss to Germany at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals, Argentina will be one to follow in the women’s division at PAC. T four-time defending PAC champions will be led by Delfina Merino with her crafty stick skill accompanied by her solid decision making and speed. Her sense for the goal will be sure to produce some impressive shots. Two other athletes with the same name on the back of their jerseys are also ones to keep an eye. Sisters Agustina Habif and Florencia Habif have combined for more than 200 games with international experience at only the ages of 25 and 23, respectively. Both were part of the squad that won gold at the 2016 women’s Hockey Champions Trophy in London, England and competed in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

No. 6 United States
Finishing out the Semifinals with good momentum, USA will look to continue that tempo as they have home-field advantage during PAC. A head coach change in Janneke Schopman at the beginning of the year as well as a few holes to fill after some athlete retirements, USA is on the quest to earn their first ever PAC title. Watch out for veteran captain Melissa Gonzalez and Katelyn Ginolfi as they will lead by example with their desire and hustle. Ginolfi recently secured her 250th international cap wearing the red, white and blue, and her experience will show when she hits the pitch to chief the backfield. Another athlete to keep an eye on is 17-year-old Erin Matson. Gathering her first international competition involvement just two weeks ago, fans were impressed by her quick stick skills and fast shots in South Africa.

No. 19 Canada
With 17 out of the 18 rostered athletes from the same FIH Gryphon Hockey World League Round 2 in April, Canada will bring unity to their performances. Scoring threat and top goal scorer of Round 2, Brienne Stairs has established herself as one of Canada’s most prolific goal scorers and will be one to watch. Canada captain Kate Wright is one of the most internationally experienced members of the team with more than 160 international. Canada earned a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, the first time the team medaled since the 1999 Pan American Games. They also won a bronze at the last Pan American Cup, in 2013 in Mendoza, Argentina.

No. 20 Chile
Having played in the same pool as both Argentina and USA at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals, Chile went on to claim 9th at the event. Much of the same Semifinals roster will be present in Lancaster, Pa., including captain Camila Caram, Carolina Garcia and goalkeeper Claudia Schuler. The trio was part of the Chile team that fell to India in a shootout, 3-1, in the final of the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 in West Vancouver, Canada. Caram is a threat on the penalty corner and Schuler on the other end will do whatever it takes to keep the ball out of the goal.

No. 23 Uruguay
Uruguay will display a very young squad with ten of the rostered athletes having competed in 20 or less international matches. For various reasons of absence, three newcomers were welcomed to the squad with Valeria Agazzi, Manuela Barrandeguy and Clementina Cristiani. They won the 2016 women’s South American Championship led by Maria Teresa Viana Ache, who scored a goal in each of the periods on their way to a victory over Chile. Their defense will be well anchored by Agustina Nieto and captain goalkeeper Rossana Paselle.

No. 30 Mexico
Mexico had a strong scoring performance at the FIH Hockey World League Round 1 event, which they hosted in Salamanca. Marlet Correa and Arlette Estrada found the back of the net an impressive six times each as they team went on to concede a total of 46 goals in four games. Captain Marlet Correa will be a penalty corner threat at PAC while defender Karen Orozco and goalkeeper Jesus Castillo will show their experience and disrupt any kind of threaten attacking that comes their way.

No. 41 Brazil
The 2015 Pan American Challenge winner in Chiclayo, Peru, Brazil is somewhat of a dark horse of the tournament coming in with a team that has very little familiarity in international competition. Most capped athlete, Anita Rodriguez will bring her poised leadership as goalkeeper Andrea Bernardes will front-lead the defensive line.

Don’t miss out on the biggest field hockey experience in the U.S. since the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. Purchase tickets now for the 2017 Pan American Cups by clicking below.

USFHA media release

Wiese Solidifies USMNT Roster to Compete at the Men’s Pan American Cup

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Following an 11-day training camp, U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Rutger Wiese has solidified the 18-athlete roster, and one reserve, that will compete at the 2017 men’s Pan American Cup (PAC) in Lancaster, Pa. from August 4 -13.

    "On behalf of the coaching staff, I’d like to congratulate all selected players," commented Wiese. "We’ve had to make some difficult choices after the France games and the training camp this past week. We’ve worked extremely hard as a team and staff to get better every day and as a result we’re growing as a program and looking forward to flying to the East Coast where we will have a week to work on the final details before our first game on August 4. As always we stick with our motto: today we need to be better than yesterday.”

The evaluation process for the PAC squad started back in March when the team traveled to Tacarigua, Trinidad and Tobago for FIH Hockey World League Round 2. The event included three other participating PAC teams, as USA finished second in their pool and the event included three shootout wins on their way to earn bronze. To continue with PAC preparation, Team USA traveled to Germany and France in June for a 2-week training camp and three friendly test matches. Falling in the first contest to FIH Hero World Ranked No. 17 France, USA showed persistence in the second to rally and find the go-ahead goal in the final minute of play. France would come out on top in the final match-up.

At the Pan American Cup, No. 26 USA sits in Pool A with No. 1 FIH Hero World Ranked Argentina, No. 27 Chile and No. 48 Venezuela. Pool B includes No. 11 Canada, No. 29 Brazil, No. 33 Trinidad and Tobago and No. 41 Mexico. Team USA will open the tournament competition against Argentina on Friday, August 4 at 7 p.m. ET, followed by Venezuela on Sunday, August 6 at 7 p.m. ET. From there, USA will face Chile on Tuesday, August 8 at 7 p.m. ET before crossovers play starts on Friday, August 11. The top continental champion will qualify for the 2018 FIH Odisha men’s Hockey World Cup and the top six teams qualify for the 2021 Pan American Cup. Both Argentina and Canada already booked their tickets to the World Cup after finishes at recent FIH Hockey World League Semifinals.

"Our final preparations at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center prior to the Cup have been very positive," said Ajai Dhadwal, USMNT Captain. "The team has been training hard and we have improved over the course of the training camp. We are excited and ready to get the tournament started in Lancaster, Pa."

USMNT’s Pan American Cup Roster.

Michael Barminski (Ventura, Calif.), Tom Barratt (Greensboro, N.C.), Sean Cicchi (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Ajai Dhadwal (Agoura Hills, Calif.), Mohan Gandhi (Ventura, Calif.), Alex Grassi (Brookeville, Md.), Pat Harris (Moorpark, Calif.), William Holt (Camarillo, Calif.), Deegan Huisman (Almere, The Netherlands), Aki Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany), Brandon Karess (Allentown, Pa.), Jaja Kentwell (Royersford, Pa.), Amardeep Khokar (Valencia, Calif.), Jon Klages (Berlin, Germany), Adam Miller (Panama City, Fla.), Johnny Orozco (Ventura, Calif.), Parmeet Singh (Simi Valley, Calif.), Tyler Sundeen (Simi Valley, Calif.)

The first reserve for the men’s team is Ruben van Dam (Valkenswaard, The Netherlands).

USFHA media release

Disappointment for England U18 Boys at Six Nations

Action from England U18 Boys, July 2017

England Under-18 Boys suffered a disappointing end to their Six Nations Tournament in Nottingham, losing out 4-2 to Ireland at the Nottingham Hockey Centre on Sunday afternoon.

Despite taking the lead with Owen Williamson scoring from a penalty stroke in the fifth minute, Ireland were on top for much of the game, leaving Head Coach Jody Paul disappointed with his side’s performance.

“Unfortunately it was a lacklustre final performance,” he said. “We allowed Ireland to walk away with the win.”

Guy Sarratt scored the first of his three goals for Ireland a minute before the end of the first quarter from a penalty corner routine, and although the scores remained unchanged at 1-1 through to half time, Ireland hit the ground running.

Alex O’Regan gave Ireland the lead with a 37th minute field goal, and then Sarratt scored from penalty corners on 51 and 53 minutes to seal the win and send the Irish home smiling.

Captain and goalkeeper Oliver Payne once again made some good saves, without which the deficit might’ve been even more.

England Under-18 Boys (1) 2
Owen Williamson – 5 (PS)
Stuart Rushmere – 50 (PC)

Ireland Under-18 Boys (1) 4
Guy Sarratt – 14 51 53 (PC, PC, PC)
Alex O’Regan – 37 (FG)

England Hockey Board Media release

Four from Robson as England U16 Boys win

Action from England U16 Boys, July 2017

Ellis Robson scored four goals as England U16 Boys finished their Six Nations Tournament in style, with an impressive 5-1 victory over Ireland at Nottingham Hockey Centre.

Robson scored the only goal of the first half after two minutes. But England kicked on after the break, Robson doubling his tally on 42 minutes before Matthew White scored at the start of the fourth period.

Robson completed his hat-trick converting a penalty on 53 minutes before adding his fourth and England’s fifth just a minute later, Oliver Kidd adding a last minute consolation for Ireland.

Head Coach Mark Bateman said: “We knew it would be a tough game against the Irish but we were in a good confident mood after the shootout win yesterday.

“The first goal was pretty fortunate but it was one we will take. We tended to over-complicate our play in the first half.

“We simplified the play in the second half and our superior fitness told in the final quarter.”

The Netherlands claimed victory in the tournament after winning all five of their games, whilst two wins in their final two games saw England finish the competition in fifth, with Team Manager Mike Lloyd pleased with the side’s efforts.

“Apart from the Netherlands match, all games were competitive and we can be very pleased with that,” he said.

“Development is the number one priority and this has been good exposure at a high level of international hockey, so hopefully they will go on to be better future England players for the experience.”

England Under-16 Boys (1) 5
Ellis Robson - 2, 42, 53, 54 (FG, FG, PC, FG)
Matthew White - 46 (FG)

Ireland Under-16 Boys (0) 1
Oliver Kidd - 60 (FG)

England Hockey Board Media release

England U16 Girls draw with Belgium

England U16 girls v Holland, July 22 2017

After two consecutive defeats, England U16s girls ended their Six Nations Tournament with a battling 2-2 draw in Spain on Sunday.

Captain Darcy Bourne opened the scoring for England in the first half, before Vicki McCabe doubled their lead on the 37th minute of the match in Terrassa.

Belgium were in control for much of the second half, and two goals in three minutes in the fourth quarter from Vanessa Blockmans and Sophie Stribos ensured the spoils were shared.

After the game Head Coach John Bell said: “I was very pleased with our physical performance and the self-organisation of the girls today.

“We took the lead after a well worked goal and battled hard, as over the next two periods Belgium had the better of the circle entries.

“Our goalie played well today making a number of good saves.”

The game marked the end of the current under 16 cycle and Team Manager Jackie Sharp added: “It was good to end this year on a positive note and credit goes to the girls for all their efforts.”

England Under-16 Girls (1) 2
Darcy Bourne - 19 (FG)
Vicki McCabe - 37 (FG)

Belgium Under-16 Girls (0) 2
Vanessa Blockmans - 51 (PC)
Sophie Stribos - 54 (FG)

England Hockey Board Media release

Canadian 2017 National Championships: Day 5

Kori Sidaway

Kate Rogers of the B.C. Rams celebrates a goal in the Gold Medal Game against Ontario West. PHOTO: Blair Shier

It was a rainy start to Day 5 of the 2017 National Championships in Tamanawis Park in Surrey, BC which saw the U15 tournament wrap it’s last day of play! Day 5 featured battles for the top 3 U15 teams in Canada. The U15 Boys and Girls teams battled for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in an exciting day filled with a high level of hockey.

The day’s matches were kicked off by Ontario Central Team and the B.C. Royal Lions of the Girls U15 tournament, who were playing for 4th, 5th or 6th placement. The match up was incredibly tight, with no goals in the first half, both teams waiting for something to give. Which it did, but barely. With two minutes to go in the game, Shyana Ringma of the Royal Lions converted a short corner call into the only goal of the game, to see her team win 1-0.

The Boys U15 Bronze game was up next in an action packed turf war between Ontario East and Quebec for the Bronze medal. The first half was left at a 0-0 stalemate, putting the pressure on both teams to break the tie and put some numbers on the scoreboard. Quebec came out to deliver first with a rocket from Alexander Bird. Four minutes later Ontario East clapped back after earning a short corner call which captain Brendan Goddard turned into a goal. As the ball was brought back to the centre line, Quebec came back firing on all cylinders to regain their lead and busted down the field, ending in with Phillippe Loignon-Lapointe ripping a shot to the back of the net. The drama didn’t stop there, as both teams took cards in the dying minutes of the game. But as the final whistle was blown, Quebec earned a bronze medal for the first time in Canadian Nationals history.

Up next were the Boys U15 B.C. Lions taking on Alberta in a bid for 5th place. The game was well matched with both teams were neck-and-neck for most of the game, until Lions captain Navjot Chahal banked a goal in at the 41 minute mark. Play intensified as the clock ticked down and both teams took green cards late in the game, but the score remained the same, with the Lions taking 5th place.

The Boys U15 Gold Medal game match up featured Ontario Central and the B.C. Rams battling for top spot. Ontario Central came out relatively early with a goal from the U15 Boy’s leading goal scorer, Randeep Randhawa, eight minutes into the game. B.C. was able to square it up before entering halftime as Ryan Knight banked a goal in from a short corner chance of their own. The game continued with that back and forth nature with high tempo, but the B.C. Rams had the last say as Avjot Buttar ripped two goals in the second half, to lead his team to gold medal victory.

The late morning games featured the Women’s U23 age groups as the B.C. Lions and Alberta took each other on. The Lions came out early earning the lead, with team captain Lindsay Cole banking a hat trick, leading her team towards a 7-2 win. Alberta tried to come back late in the game with Sydney Shortt lighting up the scoreboard with two goals, but it wasn’t enough to catch up to B.C.’s lead as time ran out.

Next up the U23 Women’s B.C. Rams and Ontario faced one another in an even, hard fought game. Brianna Ricker of the B.C. Rams set the tone early with the first goal of the game, scoring a total of two goals for her team. But Ontario battled back to tie it going into halftime. When the final whistle blew the score sat tied 3-3.

Moving into the afternoon, the U15 Girls tournament was back on centre stage. Quebec and Ontario East battled it out for lower pool standings. Ontario East came out on top with a 3-1 win over Quebec.

Up next was the B.C. battle for Bronze. The B.C. White Lions and the B.C. Stags set off on a well matched back and forth game, that saw limited scoring. The first half was good, clean hockey, but neither team was able to hit the back of the net. Something had to give, and it did when the Lions took a green card at the 46 minute mark, and the momentum swung in favour of the Stags. The Stags capitalized two minutes following the green card, when Nadine Reis converted a short corner opportunity into a scoring moment. The B.C. Stags took the Bronze medal after winning the game 1-0.

Fighting for the lower placements of the U15 Girls pool, team Alberta and the B.C. Lions had their final game of the tournament. The teams came out neck and neck, with no goals scored the entire game leaving the team’s sitting on a 0-0 tie.

Just before 3:00PM, the Girls U15 Gold medal game kicked off. Ontario West faced the B.C. Rams for top the spot in Canada. For the first 15 minutes, the game was tightly contested, but as the B.C. Rams opened up scoring the floodgates opened. Kate Rogers earned a two goal lead for her team, and team captain Jenna Buglioni, leading goal scorer of the tournament, put a nail in the team’s lead with two goals of her own. The B.C. Rams earned the title of National Champs with a 5-0 win over Ontario West, who clinched the silver medal.

In the late afternoon the Men’s U23 competition kicked off with team Moose vs team Bison. Team Bison came out on top with Brandon Periera scoring two goals early in the 1st quarter, to ensure a 2-0 win.

Shortly after, the Men’s U23 Marmots challenged the Grizzlies that saw a high tempo game with Grizzlies captain Sunny Aujla scoring a goal in the 2nd quarter. Amrit Sidhu scored another two goals for Grizzlies to lead them to a 3-1 win over the Marmots.

In the evening, the U23 Women came back to the pitches at Tamanawis Fields in Surrey. In an inter-provincial battle, the B.C. Lions and the B.C. Rams stormed the field in a high energy game. The first half was back and forth with the Lions taking the first goal of the game 10 minutes in, and the Rams responding with a goal of their own five minutes later. In the second half, the momentum gathered for the Rams who banked another two goals to end the game 3-1 as the clock ran out.

The last game of the evening was Ontario vs Alberta of the U23 Women’s tournament. The game turned into a total blow out for team Ontario, with the final score sitting at 11-0. Ontario captain Alison Lee led the goalscoring for her team with a total of 5 goals, teammate Emily Buttinger with a hat trick, and sister Danielle Buttinger with two goals.

Congratulations to all the U15 teams for an awesome tournament – we’ll see you next year! Day 6 of the 2017 National Championships will see the Women’s U23 tournament play their Semi-Final games before heading into Finals on Monday, as well as the U18 Men’s and Women’s and U23 Men’s pool play continue.

If you’re from out of town, or can’t make it to Tamanawis Fields to see the final medal games, you can catch the live stream of the U18/U23 medal games here!

For photographs of the 2017 National Championships & medallist photos head over to our Facebook page.

For the full tournament schedule, click here.

For most up to date player and game statistics, click here.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Canadian 2017 Nationals Championships: Day 6

Kori Sidaway

A B.C. Field Hockey player works the ball on Day 6 of the 2017 Nationals. PHOTO: Blair Shier

The sun was shining as Day 6 of the 2017 Nationals was underway. The day featured games from the U23 and U18 competitions with the Women’s U23 teams fighting for the top spot in the country, in their semi-final games.

The day began at 9:00 AM with the U23 Men’s team Moose facing the Grizzlies. The Moose came out right off the whistle ready to win with a goal from captain Rohan Chopra two minutes into the game. Teammate Zaiq Rana extended their lead with a second goal in the first quarter. The second quarter opened up with the Moose still dominating play, and another goal from Chopra. In the third quarter, a green card was awarded to the Moose, from which the Grizzlies found an opportunity and captain Amrit Sidhu, the back of the net. The last quarter remained goal-less and the game finished 3-1 for the Moose.

Up on the turf next were the U18 Men’s Albertan team versus Quebec. Isaac Farion came out swinging, taking an advantage from a green card awarded to Alberta and turned a short corner into a goal. Late in the first half Alberta was able to do the exact same. A green card was awarded to Quebec at the 31 minute mark, and Tanvir Kang of Alberta was able to use that momentum to smack a goal in one minute later. Coming into the second half tied 1-1, team Alberta charged back on field with two goals off short corners – one from Shazab Shahzad and a second from Kang to make it 3-1. Quebec tried to rally back, but a few cards handed out held them back. A late goal for Quebec in the 62nd minute wasn’t enough to shake Alberta’s lead who took the game 3-2.

In a well matched game, the U23 Men’s team Marmots challenged team Bison in a late morning match. The first two quarters were intense and back and forth, with no team able to create a lead. That all changed in the third quarter when Bison player Ramandeep Saini lit up the scoreboard. The Marmots had their chance to respond six minutes later when Vikramjeet Sandhu banked a goal in to tie the game up. As the clock timed out, the score remained at a 1-1 tie.

The last of the morning games saw an Ontario province showdown as Ontario Central took on Ontario East in the Women’s U18 division. The game was decisively Ontario Central’s, who came out to shutout the East 7-0. Ontario Central captain Jaslan Stirling scored a total of five goals to put her team forward for the win.

The afternoon saw that the U23 Women’s Semi-Finals were underway. Ontario and Alberta squared off in the first Semi-Final battle of the day. In another decisive match up, Ontario came out to win solidly, 9-0. Notable goal scorers of the game included Abby Ferenczy, Natalie Maw, and captain Alison Lee with two goals each, to lead team Ontario to play for gold tomorrow morning.

The U18 Women B.C. Stags were up next in an inter-pool provincial face off when they played the B.C. Lions in. It was an intense, rough game, with multiple green and yellow cards handed out. THe B.C. Stags took most of the cards, but also managed to come out on top with more goals. The Stags took the game 3-0.

Swinging to Pool A of the U18 Women’s competition, the B.C. Rams hit the turf to play the Ontario Select team. The match up was tight, until the 13th minute mark when the Rams unleashed the first of many goals, to take the win by the final whistle, 7-0.

The U23 Women Semi-Final 2 game was up next in another B.C. battle, for the right to play in the final. The Rams came out early with a goal six minutes in from Annalise Poohachoff, and the lead was solidified to 2-0 as Caitlyn Anson hit the back of the net off a short corner. After halftime, the Rams added another goal to the scoresheet, but the Lions roared back with two goals of their own to make the game 3-2. But it wasn’t enough as Rams player Brianna Ricker ripped a goal in at the 65th minute to ensure the Rams play in the gold medal game against team Ontario tomorrow.

As the sun started sinking lower in the sky, the U18 Men’s tournament was back in action. The B.C. Lions played Ontario in an intense, fiercely contested game. The Lions took the first half of the game and went into halftime with a 3-1 lead, (with two goals from Christophe De Haas). In the second half the Lions came out strong again with a goal from team captain Jason Dhaliwal, but Ontario swung the momentum back their way. Incorporating an assortment of players to hit the back of the net, the second half saw Ontario climb back to make the game tied 4-4 by the time the clock ran out.

Today seemed to be the day for blowouts in the U18 Women’s competition. It was the same when Ontario West faced Alberta in Pool A. Ontario West came out strong off the whistle, with Samantha McCrory leading the charge, in both goals and cards, with a hat trick to lead Ontario West to a 7-0 victory.

Just before 6:00 PM, the U23 Men stormed the field in one of the tightest matches seen all day. The Grizzlies played team Bison in a spirited, back and forth game that made for great hockey. The Bison came out early with a snipe from Ishtpal Brar. Grizzlies captain Harbir Sidhu answered to tied it up 1-1 in the second quarter off a short corner. A minute later the Bison stole their lead back with a rocket from Dilraj Sidhu to make it 2-1. The Bison then added to their lead in the third quarter, but the Grizzlies came charging back, to trail only by 1 heading into the last quarter. with 40 minutes plus to go, Sidhu Amrit pounded his second goal of the game in to leave the game sitting at a 3-3 tie.

In a more one sided game, the U18 Mens team BC Rams were up next to play Alberta. The first half was more contested, but as soon as the game entered the second half, the B.C. Rams unleashed an onslaught of goals – momentum that Alberta couldn’t turn around. Kyle Bishop lead the goalscoring for the Rams with a hat trick, Brendan Guraliuk following with two goals, to lead the team to a 7-0 win.

The last game of Day 6 took place when the U23 Men’s division saw that Marmots play team Moose. The Moose came out to score first, but couldn’t hold onto their lead, when the Marmots carried out their offensives. Jarman Johal from team Marmots lead the scoring for his team with two goals, to win 6-3 over team Moose.

Tune in tomorrow, Monday July 24, Day 7 of the National Championships to see the Women’s U23 age group play their final games for title of National Champs! You can catch the live stream U23 Women’s medal games here (as well as for other medal games to come.)

Also on the docket tomorrow – watch out for the U18 Men and Women’s divisions as they head into Semi-Final play tomorrow.

For photographs of the 2017 National Championships head over to our Facebook page.

For the full tournament schedule, click here.

For most up to date player and game statistics, click here.

Field Hockey Canada media release

USIU Spartans down UoN, Butali drop points in hockey league


Mercy Oyugi of University of Nairobi (left) tackles USIU Spartans' Phanice Atieko during their Kenya Hockey Union women's Premier League match at City Park Stadium on July 23, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

United States International University of Africa (USIU-A) Spartans on Sunday reclaimed second spot in the Kenya Hockey Union women’s Premier League after a 6-0 win over University of Nairobi (UoN) in a league match at the City Park Stadium, Nairobi.

A brace each from Kenya international Rhoda Kuira and Sheila Nnazi inspired the students to the comfortable win in their final first leg match this season. Others on target in the lopsided encounter were Acriphyna Mosoi and skipper Beatrice Mbugua.

The win took the Thika-Road-based side to 25 points, five behind leaders Telkom, who beat Kenyatta University (KU) Titans 9-0 on Saturday at the same venue.

Agie Maina of University of Nairobi (left) vies for the ball with Sasha Masinde of USIU during their Kenya Hockey Union women's Premier League match at City Park Stadium on July 23, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |NATION MEDIA GROUP

Spartans coach Willis Ochieng noted that his charges should have won by a bigger margin, calling for more improvement in the second leg.

“We have a very good squad and the performance today was satisfactory, we have completed the first leg on top and the aim to maintain the same consistency in the second leg,” Ochieng told Nation Sport on Sunday.

UoN, who lost 1-0 to Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture Technology on Saturday, remain bottom with a point and are yet to win a match after 10 games on their debut season. UoN started the match with nine players and Spartans took full advantage of their numerical strength to go two goals up in the opening nine minutes.


Captain Mbugua started a great move from the back and the Spartans penetrated their opponents circle with ease and Misoi had the simplest finishes, flicking the ball past UoN goalkeeper Regina Kiminya after only six minutes.

Two minutes later it was two as Spartans once again attacked and with UoN defence napping, Nnazi fired past Kiminya.  The quarter ended with UoN finally managing to field 11 players on the pitch.

They kept their opponents at bay until the 25th minute when Mbugua weaved her way into the UoN defence before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner.

UON looked disjointed in attack and the Spartans defence had an off day, joining in the attack to help their team’s hunt for more goals. Spartans threatened with a couple of short corners but failed to add to their tally due to poor finishing.

Nnazi added her second of the game just before the end of the third quarter latching on to a poor clearance from Kiminya to sound the boards. The final quarter yielded two more goals for Spartans to complete a good outing.

In another women's top flight encounter, Amira Sailors saw off Sliders 3-1 at the same venue. Sailors were three up by 44 minutes courtesy of goals from Leah Omwadho, Yvette Kanyandong and Pauline Naise. Sliders pulled one back through Charity Miller in the 48th minute of the tie.

In the men's Premier League, Butali Sugar Warriors lost further ground on league leaders Kenya Police after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Parklands in the last game of the day.

Parklands took a shock lead in the seventh minute through talismanic striker Allan Odongo's field goal, before the visitors levelled through Maxwell Fuachaka in the 18th minute of play.

Boniface Ndombi of Parklands vies for the ball with Butali Sugar Warrior's' Barnabus Odhiambo during their Kenya Hockey Union men's Premier League match on July 23, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Kakamega, former Champions Nairobi Sikh Union held hosts Western Jaguars to a goalless draw in a fiercely-contested men’s Premier League match at Kakamega High School grounds.

The match started on a high note, with strikers from both sides engaging defenders in relentless raids in a bid to snatch the opener.

Sikh Union, which featured two national team players in Allan Iningu and Francis Esikuri, could have sounded the boards five minutes into the match but Haggai Pepela’s flick in the box went wide.

A counter attack by Jaguars saw their top scorer Willis Malesi, who has seven goals to his name so far ih the league, waste a golden scoring opportunity in the 12th minute when his shot inside “D area” was deflected by custodian Ajay Dosa.

Unlike the Nairobi side, which used the midfield frequently to build up their game, Jaguars preferred to use the flanks.

In the second tier men's league, Mvita hit five past Daystar University, as Dedan Kimathi University beat JKUAT 2-0 at City Park.

Daily Nation

USIU Spartans in big league victory

By Elizabeth Mburugu

Beatrice Wekesa when they played Kenyatta University when they played Ladies Premier at CityPark yesterday, on 24/09/2016 PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE

United States International University of Africa (USIU-A) Spartans yesterday defeated University of Nairobi (UoN) 6-0 in a Kenya Hockey Union women’s league match at City Park.

Sheila Nnazi and Rhoda Kuria scored a brace each while Acryphyna Misoi and Beatrice Mbugua were on target once.

The victory saw Spartans consolidate their second spot on the log with 25 points, five less than league leaders and defending champions Telkom. On Saturday, Telkom capped their first leg with victory against Kenyatta University.

Spartans, whose objective this season is to qualify for the Africa Cup for Club Championships, kept their dream alive with that massive victory.

Mbugua, who is also the USIU-A captain, said they would build on their good finish in the first leg to ensure that they qualified for the continental championships.

“The first leg has been tough but we gave it our best and are about to achieve our main objective, which is to qualify for the club championships,” said Mbugua. “We will remain focused and build on our current position to meet our target in the second round.”

To qualify for the continental champions, USIU-A must secure a top-two finish at the end of the season. Strathmore University Scorpions, who are a threat to Spartans, are third with 20 points but with a match at hand.

Misoi made Spartans’ intentions clear with a sixth minute goal when she slotted in from a Mbugua pass as UoN struggled to contain them.

Three minutes later, goalkeeper Regina Kiminya failed another test as Nnazi blasted home for a 2-0 lead.

The UoN team tightened defence and kept the Spartans strikers in control at the end of the first quarter.

The Standard Online

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