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News for 04 January 2019

All the news for Friday 4 January 2019

2019 Indoor Test Matches: CRO v USA (W) - 2nd Test
Sveti Ivan Zelina (CRO)

CRO v USA     0 - 7 (0 - 3)

USA Win the 2 test series 2 - 0

2019 Indoor Test Matches: CRO v USA (W) (U21) - 2nd Test
Sveti Ivan Zelina (CRO)

CRO v USA     2 - 9 (1 - 4)

FIH Match Centre

Indoor USWNT Prepare for Croatia Cup with Test Matches

SVETI IVAN ZELINA, Croatia - January 3, 2019 - To prepare for the Croatia Cup that starts on Friday, the Junior and Senior U.S. Women's National Teams participated in test matches against the host nation yesterday and today.

January 2, 2019
U-21 USA 9 - U-21 Croatia 0

The U-21 Indoor USWNT got off to a good start in their first test match against Croatia’s U-21 team. Megan Maransky (Blue Bell, Pa.) scored off their first penalty corner in the second minute. This was followed a minute later by Mia Leonhardt (Media, Pa.) adding a second following a fast passing movement. Croatia earned their first penalty corner in the 9th minute, which brought a fine sliding save by USA goalkeeper Sierra Espeland (Fredericksburg, Va.). Almost immediately Ryleigh Heck (Shamong, N.J.) worked her way into Croatia’s circle and had her strong shot saved, but the ball fell to Olivia Bent-Cole (Ventnor, N.J.) who was there to push the ball into the empty net to make the score 3-0. One minute later Leonhardt rounded the Croatia defense and found Josephine Palde (Schwenksville, Pa.) who made no mistake with a first time shot. With a similar move in the 19th minute Leonhardt found Bend-Cole who scrambled the ball into the net to give the U-21 USA side a 5-0 lead at halftime.

The second half started with the Croatia goalkeeper Katarina Filipović making a fine diving save from Heck. In the 23rd minute, beautiful passing movement from Rayne Wright (Bethlenhem, Pa.) found Heck to Bent-Cole to Leonhardt who made no mistake to extend the score to 6-0. Four minutes later Evelyn Murray (Virginia Beach, Va.) found Palde to make it 7-0. USA would add two more  the when Bent-Cole found Heck in the 31st minute. From the restart, Leonhardt stole the ball and shot low to round out the scoring at 9-0. Both teams went close with penalty corners in the final three minutes and the game finished with the USA earning a convincing win.

USA 5 - Croatia 4

In the senior game, the Indoor USWNT came up against a physically strong Croatia team. With USA having trouble working the ball through the tight host nation defense, Croatia won a penalty corner on their first attack. A slip right found a breakdown in USA’s defense and Croatia made the USA pay for the early error, taking the 1-0 lead. USA started to find inroads into their attacking circle, but Croatia goalkeeper Iva Zlomislic was in outstanding form, making a series of excellent saves. It took a well worked USA penalty corner option finished by Paityn Wirth (Thompsontown, Pa.) to tie the game at 1-1 in the 9th minute.

USA continued to mount pressure, but Zlomislic stonewalled USA time and time again. In the 15th minute, Croatia took their second lead of the match on a run-off play from a breakaway. As USA continued to be frustrated by Zlomislic in goal, the half finished with Croatia retaining their 2-1 lead.

The second half continued in similar fashion with USA struggling to find the net and Croatia looking for the long counter. From one of those counter attacks, Croatia scrambled the ball into the net extending their lead to 3-1 in the 24th minute. A neat pass from Elizabeth Yeager (Rye, N.Y.) found Wirth in the circle who pulled and lifted the ball over Zlomislic with a reverse stick shot to tally one goal back for USA a minute later.

With five minutes remaining, it was Corinne Zanolli (Newtown Square, Pa.) who finally converted a USA penalty corner with a strong low shot past the onrushing Zlomislic to tie the game at 3-3. From the restart Yeager intercepted a pass and made a superb behind the back pass to Hope Rose (Dauphin, Pa.) wide on the left of the circle who fired the ball hard into the roof of the net to give USA their first lead 4-3.

A frantic final three minutes ensued. Croatia’s Ivona Makar scored their third penalty corner with two minutes remaining to tie the game 4-4 and with Croatia pressing for the winning goal, a long ball from Ali Campbell (Boyertown, Pa.) found Wirth on the left of the circle who put USA back in front and seal the 5-4 victory in the dying seconds.

“This was the first international tournament for our very young USA team,” said Jun Kentwell, Indoor USWNT Head Coach. “Their inexperience showed at times and they have to learn to play under pressure. Our techniques were strong, and I hope their decision making will improve as they settle and grow in confidence.”

“I was disappointed with our finishing today, it took us too long to figure out how to score against a quality aggressive goalkeeper,” continued Kentwell. “We had a difficult time adjusting to the slippery surface and we need to find our balance, so we can make accurate early passes.”

January 3, 2019
U-21 USA 9 - U-21 Croatia 2

In the second test game, Croatia pressed hard from the opening whistle. They controlled the ball while USA’s defense played strong under converted pressure. Against the run of play, Kelly Smith (Downingtown, Pa.) intercepted a pass on the halfway line, took the ball into the circle and scored with a hard-low shot to give USA the lead in the 11th minute.

USA slowly started to make inroads through Croatia’s press and a nice passing move in the 15th minute through Heck to Leonhardt and on to Murray who scored from a narrow angle. A minute later Heck drew the defense and passed left to Murray who made it 3-0 from a similar angle. With the game now flowing from end to end, Croatia tallied a goal back through a quick passing move and a deflection into the net by Eva Litvic. With time running out in the first half Maransky found Heck in midfield who slipped a pinpoint pass to Leonhardt who scored with ease to give the USA a 4-1 lead at the break.

Changing their formation, USA dominated from the start of the second half. A quality move involving all five players found Bent-Cole waiting by the post to tap the ball home. In the 29th minute, Heck found Bent-Cole on the post again after drawing Croatia’s defense to the right to extend the lead to 6-1. A minute later another good passing move from Wright to Heck and a slip pass to Smith who fired a hard shot from the top left of the circle. Almost immediately Leonhardt pounced on a loose ball in the circle and gave Croatia’s goalkeeper Filipović no chance from close range. With five minutes to go Croatia pulled the goalkeeper but, with USA playing tight defense, Leonhardt stole ball and scored on an empty net and extended the score to 9-1.

As the clock ran out Croatia scored from a penalty corner to put a goal back and end the game finished in a 9-2 USA win.

USA 7 - Croatia 0

After yesterday’s physical contest, today’s game was a well-played tactical affair. USA’s defense looked more composed and their passing out of the defense and through the midfield was crisper and more accurate. After Campbell had a penalty corner stopped on the goal line, Maddie Orobono (Macungie, Pa.) had a clinical finish after their second penalty corner was saved to give the USA a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.

Two minutes later, Campbell found Wirth on the left of the circle who extended the lead with a hard first time shot. A sharp quick restart by Nathalie Friedman (Phoenix, Md.) found Ashley Sessa (Schwenksville, Pa.) who sent the ball across to Rose who shot hard from the top left of the circle to give USA a 3-0 advantage. Just before half time, Zanolli had a penalty corner saved on the line and Sessa showed her skill firing a strong reverse shot just over the bar.

The second half continued in a similar fashion with Orobono beating a defender only to see her shot hit the post. The Croatia’s goalkeeper Zlomislic made an incredible diving save to keep Yeager’s penalty corner chance out. In the 29th minute, Zanolli showed skill to eliminate two defenders and laid the ball off to Rose who scored for her second and the team’s fourth goal.

The game continued to entertain with both teams going close. With three minutes to go Campbell threaded a long penetrating pass to Rose on the far post who tapped the ball in to complete her hat-trick. Two minutes later Sessa stole the ball, passed quickly to Wirth whose shot went high over the diving goalkeeper. As time ran out Yeager worked hard to win the ball on the boards and sent a hard pass across the goal to Sessa to score her first international goal right before the buzzer and give USA a well-played 7-0 win.

"The players communicated well today and found a better way to press the hold the spaces," said Kentwell following the game. "Both teams started to adapt to the surface and I was pleased the younger players stepped up and played with more confidence and showed their quality."

The Croatia Cup is a seven-team round-robin tournament will include both USA squads along with Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia and Croatia's U-21 team. It will mark the first international contest for USA since the Indoor Hockey World Cup in Berlin, Germany in February 2018. USA finished 10th in the squad’s first-ever appearance at the event and currently are ranked No. 12 in the FIH Hero World Rankings.

For all information regarding the Croatia Cup including the full schedule, rosters and more, check out the event page by clicking here.

USFHA media release

UniKL strike down Thunderbolts

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: It was a super start to the season for Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) as they beat TNB Thunderbolts 4-1 in the quarter-finals of the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup today.

Playing at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, UniKL had wrapped up the match by the 28th minute with goals from Najmi Farizal (seventh), Farhan Zain (10th), Razie Rahim (28th) and Hafiz Zainol (28th).

Aminudin Zain scored for Thunderbolts in the 54th minute.

The other semi-final will be between Maybank and Terengganu Hockey Team (THT). Maybank drew 1-1 with Universiti Teknologi Mara but the Tigers won 2-1 on penalty shoot-out.

Even in a comfortable victory, UniKL coach Arul Selvaraj was hit by bad news ahead of the Tenaga cruncher tomorrow.

UniKL will now play Tenaga Nasional, who received a bye into the semi-finals, as there are only seven teams in the Premier Division this year. Pic by NSTP/ ASYRAF HAMZAH

“We only had 15 players (because five of their import players will only be arriving on Jan 10 for warm-up before the match. Shazrul (Imran) tore a tendon and so I had a weakened bench.

“I told my players to go for early goals and then take it easy to avoid injuries as the semi-final is less than 24 hours away and we have only 14 players,” said Arul.

Tenaga have 10 national players, and with the bye they received in the draw, they will be rested and ready to challenge UniKL for the final spot.

“Yes, we will go in as the underdogs as Tenaga not only rested for the quarter-finals, but also have many national players on their side,” said Arul.

New Straits Times

Goalkeeper Zaimi’s heroics take Maybank into the semi-finals

KUALA LUMPUR: Goalkeeper Muhamad Zaimi Mat Deris made his debut with Maybank in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) and became an instant hero.

The 22-year-old goalkeeper made three saves during the penalty shootouts to help Tigers edge Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) to qualify for the semi-finals of the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup.

Maybank won 2-1 in the shootout when both teams drew 1-1 after 60-minute regulation time in the first quarter-final at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

UiTM, who won the Division Two title last year, took the lead through Danial Asyraf Abdul Ghani in the 35th minute but the Tigers equalised in the 55th minute through national forward Muhd Haziq Samsul.

In the penalty shootout, Meor Muhd Azuan Hasan and Muhd Hafiizhuddin Zaidi scored for the Tigers while Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahman netted for UiTM.

The Tigers will play the winners of the Terengganu-Nur Insafi match in today’s semi-finals.

Zaimi, who has been in the national training squad since last year, was clearly happy with his performance.

“I was the reserve keeper the last two years as Maybank hired foreign keepers,” said Zaimi, who featured in the Junior World Cup in Lucknow in 2016.

“But this year, I got my chance to play as the first choice after Maybank decided to use all local players.

“I did not feel nervous. I made a few good saves to help my team win our opening match,” added Zaimi, who aims to be national goalkeeper in the next two years.

Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) were without five import players but they still advanced to the semi-finals by outplaying TNB-Thunderbolt 4-1 at the same venue.

Muhd Najmi Farizal Jazlan (7th), Muhd Farhan Mohamad Zain (10th), Muhd Razie Abdul Rahim (28th) and Muhd Hafiz Zainol (28th) delivered the goals for UniKL.

Muhd Aminudin Mohd Zain netted the consolation goal for Thunderbolt in the 54th minute.

UniKL coach A. Arulselvaraj said they only played with 14 players against Thunderbolt as defender Shazrul Imran Nazli got injured while warming up.

“Our five foreign players will only arrive next week. Tenaga are powered by 10 national players. We’ve to take our chances well against them,” said Arulselvaraj.

The Star of Malaysia

‘Improved strategy can steer Pakistan hockey out of crisis’

Former Olympian Ayaz has been appointed as PHF Associate Secretary on an ad hoc basis to run the day-to-day affairs of the Federation in place of Shahbaz Ahmed who resigned as PHF Secretary last week. - AFP/File photo

LAHORE: While declaring that blunders were committed in running Pakistan hockey during the past 15 years, newly-appointed associate secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation Ayaz Mahmood on Wednesday said with improved strategy and planning the country could regain its position in world hockey.

Former Olympian Ayaz has been appointed as PHF associate secretary on ad hoc basis to run the day-to-day affairs of the federation in place of Shahbaz Ahmed, who resigned as PHF secretary last week.

Talking to reporters here, Ayaz said his mandate was to run PHF’s day-to-day affairs until the approval in this regard was given by the Congress whose meeting would be held within a week.

Ayaz, a gold medallist of the 1984 Los Angles Olympics, said the PHF president retired Brig Khalid Sajjad Khokhar appointed him as associate secretary by following the federation’s constitution, which allows the president to take urgent decisions and then get the approval for those from from the board or Congress.

Interestingly, Ayaz was a member of the national selection committee, headed by Islahuddin Siddiqi, which resigned after Pakistan’s pathetic show at the 2018 World Cup.

When asked whether he had not joined a sinking ship by accepting the PHF post as the federal government presently was not patronising the federation, the former centre-half said as a hockey lover it was better to join the federation at this stage to save it from complete destruction.

“Insha Allah with better planning and improved strategy our hockey will soon come back on the right track,” he said.

Ayaz expressed his willingness to work with all concerned to rescue ailing Pakistan hockey.

“Pakistan has heaps of [hockey] talent; we just have to teach the players about the basics of our own style of hockey and then they can adapt to the techniques of modern hockey too,” Ayaz insisted.

“I admit that we have been doing blunders for the last 15 years but now all hockey lovers have to come out and work together for the betterment of hockey. To achieve this, I am ready to work with both seniors and juniors.”

To a question, the ex-Olympian said there was a need to change the mindset that only a hockey stalwart could prove as best coach and administrator too, noting both were entirely different departments.

Replying to a question as to how Danish Kaleem and Rehan Butt were retained as Pakistan coaches after both had resigned in the backdrop of national squad’s dismal show at the 2018 World Cup,

Ayaz said it was a PHF decision which it had made before he joined the federation. “PHF president [Birg Khokhar] and last secretary Shahbaz Ahmed are in a better position to respond on this,” he said.

Underlining physical fitness and discipline as the two key areas needing improvement, Ayaz categorically said there would be be no compromise in this regard.

On his first day in office, Ayaz said, he was studying documents of the forthcoming Pro Hockey League, adding soon he would sit with the PHF president to take decisions about national team’s preparations.


USA Field Hockey Growing the Game in Tennessee

SPRING HILL, Tenn. - USA Field Hockey's Sport Development team is currently in Spring Hill, Tenn. introducing the sport to approximately 120 physical education teachers at Williamson County Schools (WCS) during their first professional development day of 2019. WCS has approximately 40,000 students enrolled in P-12 for the 2018-19 school year. There are 48 school sites including ten high schools, ten middle schools, 26 elementary schools, one K-8 and the Alternative Learning Center.

“We are thrilled to be working with the growing Nashville Field Hockey Club and Williamson County Schools to help bring field hockey to Nashville, Tenn.," said Sally Goggin, USA Field Hockey's National Development Director. "There are currently two NCAA collegiate field hockey programs in Tennessee, Rhodes College and Sewanee: The University of the South, and Vanderbilt University has a club team. However, there are no high school, middle school or elementary programs yet. Nashville Field Hockey Club formed just over a year ago by Pam and Neil Padden, with the great support of Andrea McCarthy, and Lianne Haviland, as well as other volunteers. They are doing a wonderful job creating field hockey opportunities in the Nashville area, and USA Field Hockey is eager to support their efforts and grow the game.”

USA Field Hockey will be back in the Nashville area for another Physical Education Professional Development Day at the Clarksville-Montgomery County (CMC) Schools on Friday, March 1. CMC Schools are made up of nine high schools, eight middle schools and 24 elementary schools.

“We would love to see both WCS and CMC incorporate field hockey into their PE programs and start after school field hockey programs," added Goggin. "Both school districts are high academic schools that value student engagement, and field hockey would be a great addition for their students.”

A special thank you to Jeremy Qualls, WCS District Athletic Director, for inviting USA Field Hockey and for helping to grow the game!

For more information about growing the game in Tennessee or in your local community, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

USFHA media release

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