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News for 28 June 2021

All the news for Monday 28 June 2021

Australia wrap up FIH Hockey Pro League season with double success over New Zealand

By Sarah Juggins

It was a day of celebration for the host nation Australia as they beat New Zealand in both the men’s and women’s FIH Hockey Pro League matches, in two games that brought down the curtain on the extended FIH Hockey Pro League Season Two. In the men's game, Australia won by a comfortbale 2-0 margin, while the women beat New Zealand 3-1.

 In a season that has been disrupted and extended because of the pandemic, it seemed Covid-19 was determined to continue to make its mark even on the final day of action. A snap three-day lockdown imposed by the West Australian government in response to a rise in cases meant the final FIH Hockey Pro League matches were played behind closed doors at the magnificent Perth Hockey Stadium.

That, and a serious amount of rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm with which these two nations approached the matches – their last international games before the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The men’s match was hugely competitive, with two goals, four yellow cards and three green cards telling the story of the final men’s match in the FIH Hockey Pro League.

Despite the cards, this was not a bad-tempered fixture, purely a competitive match that both teams wanted desperately to win. The first minutes of the first quarter were evenly matched with New Zealand, led by Blair Tarrant and Shea McAleese, showing a steely determination in defence. Australia, for their part were playing with less ferocity and more composure than the previous day’s match as they probed the Black Sticks defence looking for a chance to breakthrough.

The opening goal came from Nathan Ephraums as he delicately lifted the ball over Leon Haywards’ head in the New Zealand goal. The build up work had been done by the eventual Player of the Match, Tom Wickham, as he had beaten several players as he made his way into the circle.

Blake Govers scored the second, bringing his overall FIH Hockey Pro League tally to four. The striker, who had looked dangerous all match, pounced on a loose rebound following a penetrating run into the New Zealand circle by Wickham.

New Zealand had their chances but Head Coach Darren Smith acknowledged that his side needed to make the opportunities count.

Speaking at the end of the match, Player of the Match Tom Wickham said: “It was good to get a few wins and it was good to get back to international action. We left a few goals out there. It was psychologically important to finish with a win and we will take the lessons out of it."

Australia finished the FIH Hockey Pro League in second position, behind Belgium, with a win ratio of 66.7% compared to Belgium’s win rate of 76.2%. New Zealand finished in eighth, just ahead of Spain, with a win rate of 26.7%.

In the women’s match, New Zealand took the lead though a goal from the FIH Hockey Pro League’s leading scorer Olivia Merry. She was able to take the ball into the circle and fire low into the corner of Rachael Lynch’s goal.

Australia came back strongly with a goal, four minutes after the break. Savannah Fitzpatrick was on hand to shoot a rebound past Grace O’Hanlon. Penny Squibb – who replaced Edwina Bone in the squad because of an injury – was on hand to fire home a penalty corner and give her side the lead just after half-time.

It was a game played at an energy-sapping pace, with both sides creating chances but also making unforced errors. The game was put beyond all doubt, four minutes from the final whistle, when New Zealand removed their goalkeeper. Australia gained possession and Mariah Williams was able to fire home into an empty goal.

After the match Olivia Merry received her award for being Top Scorer with 11 goals in the FIH Hockey Pro League Season 2. It was an award she also won the previous season.

"I think it is down to my teammates,” said Merry. “They put the balls in [to the circle] and all credit goes to them. It was tough times last year but we have to take personal responsibilities for our performances and I think over the past year we have done that.”

Player of the Match Rosie Malone (AUS) said: "Out of the last four matches we played New Zealand we have drawn three, so it was nice to actually get the win today without going to shoot-out.

"My mum used to say 'Just go straight to the top of the circle and have a shot'. That tactic paid off today."

The result means Australia finished fifth in the FIH Hockey Pro league with a win percentage of 54.17%, while New Zealand finish just below in sixth place with a win rate of 53.33%.

More information about the matches can be found below.

Australia vs New Zealand (Women & Men)


Men's match

Australia 2, New Zealand 0

Scorers:  Nathan Ephraums & Blake Gover

Player of the Match: Tom Wickham (AUS)

Umpires: Adam Kearns (AUS), Peter Wright (RSA), Video: Kelly Hudson (NZL)

Women's match

Australia 3, New Zealand 1

Scorers: Savannah Fitzpatrick, Penny Squibb, Mariah Williams (AUS); Olivia Merry (NZL)

Player of the Match: Rose Malone

Umpires: Kelly Hudson (NZL), Aleisha Neumann (AUS), Video: Adam Kearns (AUS)

Official FIH Pro League Site

Kookaburras make it two from two over Black Sticks

Goals in either half have given the world number one ranked Kookaburras a 2-0 victory over New Zealand in their final international match before the Olympics.

Played in an empty Perth Hockey Stadium due to snap COVID restrictions enforced by the Western Australian government just hours before the start, the match was a tough slog compared to the open 13 goals scored in yesterday’s match between the teams.

Similarly to yesterday, the first goal came in the 11th minute, this time courtesy of Nathan Ephraums, who replaced Trent Mitton in the Kookaburras line up.

The young Victorian showed his striker instinct, pouncing at close range after being picked out superbly by Tom Wickham who drove into the circle and past two defenders.

Wickham went close himself just before quarter time, only Black Sticks goalkeeper Leon Hayward denying him from making it 2-0.

New Zealand also had their moments, defender Matt Dawson making a vital intercept to foil a promising Black Sticks attack before Nick Wilson flashed a shot just wide of the post.

In the 37th minute New Zealand thought they had found an equaliser when Sam Lane glanced the ball in only for the video review to adjudge it to have come off the back of his stick.

Minutes later the Kookaburras were two goals to the good when Flynn Ogilvie produced a sublime run into the circle. Near the base line, the midfielder’s ball across was parried away by Hayward, who partly saved Tim Brand’s goal bound shot on the rebound but he could not stop Blake Govers from making sure the ball ended up in the net.  

Four yellow cards, two to each team, were shown in the final 16 minutes as the match became a grind in the wet conditions, with the Kookaburras seemingly in control as they recorded a clean sheet.

Wickham was named Player of the Match, the forward encapsulating the Kookaburras ethos with a stellar performance despite missing out on selection in the Olympic team.

The Kookaburras will head to Darwin for a pre Olympic training camp before departing for Tokyo on 19 July.

Match Details
Kookaburras 2 (Ephraums 11’, Govers 40’)
New Zealand 0
@ Perth Hockey Stadium

Kookaburras: 1.Lachlan Sharp, 5.Tom Wickham, 6.Matthew Dawson, 7.Nathan Ephraums, 10.Josh Beltz, 11.Eddie Ockenden, 12.Jake Whetton, 13.Blake Govers, 14.Dylan Martin, 15.Josh Simmonds, 16.Tim Howard, 17.Aran Zalewski (c), 22.Flynn Ogilvie, 23.Daniel Beale, 29.Tim Brand, 30.Andrew Charter (gk), 32.Jeremy Hayward
Unused Substitutes: 8.Johan Durst (gk)

New Zealand: 3.David Brydon, 4.Dane Lett, 7.Nick Ross, 12.Sam Lane, 14.Jared Panchia, 21.Kane Russell, 22.Blair Tarrant (c), 23.Dylan Thomas, 24.Sean Findlay, 25.Shea McAleese, 27.Stephen Jenness, 29.Hugo Inglis, 30.George Muir, 31.Steve Edwards, 32.Nick Wilson, 34.Leon Hayward (gk)
Unused Substitutes: 15.George Enersen (gk), 16.Aidan Sarikaya

Hockey Australia media release

Hockeyroos head into Tokyo with winning form

The Hockeyroos have secured a confidence building result ahead of next month’s Tokyo Olympics, accounting for New Zealand 3-1 in their final match of the prolonged FIH Pro League 2020.

Played at an empty Perth Hockey Stadium due to enforced COVID restrictions, the Hockeyroos came from a goal down to clinch an impressive win.

Savannah Fitzpatrick continued her rich vein of form since being re-selected to the squad with her second goal in as many games to cancel out Olivia Merry’s 4th minute opener.

Defender Penny Squibb slotted her second Hockeyroos goal four minutes into the second half before Mariah Williams sealed the result late on.

With both sides determined to head into the Olympics with winning form, the Black Sticks made the early running and went ahead as Merry showed why she finished as the FIH Pro League’s top goal scorer.

Down early, the Hockeyroos midfield led by Steph Kershaw and captain for the day Brooke Peris started to gain some ascendancy and a minute into the second quarter, the home side had an equaliser.

Fitzpatrick reacted quickest to a deflection in the circle, producing a clinical finish on the reverse with the shot going through the legs of Black Sticks goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon to make it 1-1.

Rachael Lynch reeled off a couple of saves in quick succession to deny the Black Sticks to ensure scores remained level at half time.

Then from the first penalty corner of the second half Squibb put the Hockeyroos in front, sending a perfectly placed drag flick into the bottom left hand corner.

Rosie Malone went agonisingly close to getting on the end of a quality run down the right and squaring ball from Williams as the Hockeyroos looked to turn the screws on their Trans Tasman rivals in the third quarter.

But like most tussles between the teams, there would be a further twist as Ella Gunson thought she had brought the Black Sticks back level in the 54th minute, only for it to be ruled out on review for an obstruction.

With the minutes running out, Black Sticks Head Coach Graham Shaw removed O’Hanlon to give the visitors an extra out field player in their search for an equaliser.

But the move backfired as the Hockeyroos caused a turnover, Kaitlin Nobbs sending a pass down the channel to Williams who tucked the ball into an open net.

Malone was named Player of the Match, paying credit to the Hockeyroos’ ability to dig deep and get reward for effort in her post match interview.

The signs are promising for the Hockeyroos as they prepare for their opening match of Tokyo 2020 against Spain on 25 July.

Match Details
Hockeyroos 3 (S.Fitzpatrick 16’, Squibb 34’, Williams 57’)
New Zealand 1 (Merry 4’)
@ Perth Hockey Stadium

Hockeyroos: 2.Rosie Malone, 3.Brooke Peris (c), 4.Amy Lawton, 6.Penny Squibb, 8.Georgia Wilson, 10.Maddy Fitzpatrick, 12.Greta Hayes, 14.Steph Kershaw, 15.Katlin Nobbs, 18.Jane Claxton, 19.Jocelyn Bartram (gk), 20.Karri Somerville, 21.Renee Taylor, 22.Kate Jenner, 24.Mariah Williams, 26.Emily Chalker, 27.Rachael Lynch (gk), 32.Savannah Fitzpatrick

New Zealand: 1.Tarryn Davey, 2.Olivia Shannon, 4.Olivia Merry, 5.Frances Davies, 12.Ella Gunson, 13.Samantha Charlton (c), 14.Tyler Lench, 15.Grace O’Hanlon (gk), 16.Liz Thompson, 17.Stephanie Dickins, 19.Tessa Jopp, 20.Megan Hull, 24.Rose Keddell, 25.Kelsey Smith, 27.Holly Pearson, 33.Julia King, 34.Hope Ralph
Unused Substitutes: 42.Georgia Barnett (gk)

Hockey Australia media release

Black Sticks wrap-up FIH Pro League matches in Perth

Australia retained their grip over the Vantage Black Sticks with a 2-0 victory in Perth tonight in the final leadup match for both teams before the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The game was also the last in the Pro League season, which had been ravaged by Covid-19 restrictions.

The pace of the game was slower than in Saturday’s 7-3 victory for the hosts, but the Black Sticks were unable to take their chances.

Coach Darren Smith had been keen to stress the importance of treasuring possession before the game, but his players were still guilty of frittering the ball away too often.

The field was drenched before the game began and a heavy shower added to the challenge for the players in the first half.

As in the first game of the weekend doubleheader, Vantage Black Sticks goalkeeper Leon Hayward gave a strong performance, beginning with a strong low block of the hard-hitting Blake Govers.

That the Aussies were restricted to just two goals was in large part down to Darwin-born Hayward’s bravery and skill.

Australia went ahead after 11 minutes when the ball was given away in the middle of the park. Slick inter-passing was finished by Nathan Ephraums from close range flicking the ball over Hayward’s shoulder into the net.

The Black Sticks actually enjoyed a possession advantage in the game, 51 percent to 49, and won four penalty corners to the Kookaburras two.

They also frequently prospered down the righthand flank where Nick Wilson and Hugo Inglis had their moments.

Shortly before halftime Wilson had a glorious chance to level the score when the ball reached him in front of an open goal, but it had flown quickly to him and his shot lobbed over the crossbar.

The Black Sticks did have the ball in the Australian net through Sam Lane, who also caught the eye for his industry and leading the attacking line, but it was ruled out for a shot off the back of a stick in the leadup.

Nine minutes after halftime, Australia doubled their lead when Govers was on hand at the back post to jab the ball into the New Zealand goal after a scramble.

World No. 8 New Zealand kept working hard to the finish, indeed the game ended when their fourth penalty corner attempt was kept out.

The teams will meet again in Tokyo next month, where both are in pool A, along with Argentina, India, hosts Japan and Spain.

Kookaburras 2: Eddie Ockenden, Nathan Ephraums
Black Sticks 0

Australia vs New Zealand in the FIH Pro League Hockey at Perth Hockey Stadium in Perth, Australia. Photo: Johan Schmidt

The Vantage Black Sticks women lost their final leadup game to the Tokyo Olympics, 3-1 against Australia in Perth.

Coupled with the men’s Trans-Tasman match earlier, it enabled the Hockeyroos to have a clean sweep to round off the FIH Hockey Pro League.

Four of their last four clashes had been drawn but Australia were well worth the win tonight.

The Vantage Black Sticks began impressively, and went ahead in just the fourth minute.

Australia lost possession in the middle of the field, Manawatu attacker Olivia Shannon surged forward, slipped the ball to key striker Olivia Merry. The Cantabrian took her time, picked her spot and slammed the ball into the net.

It was Merry’s 11th goal in the Pro League, the top of the individual scoring chart.

The game was played at a frenetic pace, and Black Sticks goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon was kept busy.

World No. 3 Australia equalised inside the first minute of the second quarter. Savannah Fitzpatrick stabbed the ball under O’Hanlon from close in.

At halftime Black Sticks coach Graham Shaw was urging more control and greater quality, but it was the Aussies who took the lead four minutes into the second half.

Penny Squibb put a low shot past O’Hanlon’s right side. New Zealand had few chances to score for the remainder of the match as Australia asserted their dominance.

Both teams would regret the number of loose traps and passes.

Fitzpatrick would have had a second goal but for the upright intervening. New Zealand did get the ball in the net a second time, through defender Ella Gunson but it was ruled out for a blocking infringement.

When the sixth-ranked Black Sticks took O’Hanlon off to add an extra attacking option in the last five minutes, it backfired as Mariah Williams broke through and eased the ball into an open goal.

It would have been a fourth Australian goal at the end, but for North Harbour’s Steph Dickins’ goal line block.

The teams will meet again at the Tokyo Olympics.

Vantage Black Sticks 1: Olivia Merry
Hockeyroos 3: Savannah Fitzpatrick, Penny Squibb, Mariah Williams

Official Blacksticks site

Australia earn wins over New Zealand as protracted FIH Hockey Pro League season ends

By Michael Pavitt

Australia earned a 3-1 win over New Zealand in the second women's match as the FIH Hockey Pro League season drew to a conclusion ©Getty Images

Australia secured victories over New Zealand in both men’s and women’s matches in Perth to conclude the COVID-19 impacted International Hockey Federation (FIH) Hockey Pro League season.

The Australian women’s team bounced back from a shootout loss to New Zealand yesterday at the Perth Hockey Stadium, with matches held behind closed doors amid a snap three-day lockdown imposed by the West Australian Government due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

New Zealand took the lead after four minutes of the match, with Olivia Merry scoring her 11th goal of the prolonged Hockey Pro League season.

Perry finished as the top scorer in the Hockey Pro League for the second consecutive campaign.

Her early strike proved New Zealand’s only goal of the match, with Savannah Fitzpatrick levelling for Australia after 16 minutes by converting after a rebound.

Penny Squibb put Australia in front via a penalty corner in the third quarter of the match.

Australia’s victory was sealed late on by Mariah Williams, who struck to give the hosts a 3-1 victory.

The result saw Australia finish ahead of New Zealand in the final season standings, with the teams ending fifth and sixth on point percentages of 54.17 and 53.33 respectively.

The FIH opted to use point percentages to determine the final standings, after the season was extended due to the coronavirus pandemic and several matches were unable to be played.

Australia won a hard fought men's match against New Zealand ©Getty Images

World and Pro League champions The Netherlands topped the nine-team women's standings with percentage of 88.9 per cent.

Argentina were second on 63.3 per cent, followed by Britain and Germany on 55.6 and 54.2 per cent, respectively.

Australia finished second in the men’s standings behind Belgium, aided by a final victory over New Zealand.

Their latest triumph was not as convincing as yesterday’s 7-3 win.

Goals from Nathan Ephraums and Blake Govers gave Australia a 2-0 victory, with the efforts coming in the first and third quarters of the contest.

The match was held amid heavy rain in Perth, with officials showing four yellow cards during a competitive match.

Belgium topped the final standings on a point percentage of 76.2, with Australia second on 66.7.

Germany completed the top three in the nine team competition on 63.3 per cent, as India missed out on a podium spot in fourth place on 62.5.

The back-to-back matches in Perth could aid Australia and New Zealand's preparations for next month's rearranged Olympic Games in Tokyo, with the fixtures having marked their return to international competition after a COVID-19 enforced absence.

Inside the Games

Men: Argentina PAHF Indoor Champions

Spring City, PA, USA

Final: Argentina vs. USA    (Photo: Mark Palczewski)

Final: Argentina vs. USA : 4-2

The final of the Mens Indoor Pan Am Cup Tournament, was played between Argentina and the US, they had already played two matches in the tournament where Argentina had two victories (4 - 1 and 4 -3).

During the first quarter Argentina had greater possession of the ball, but could not make the difference, there was a green card for Kentwell # 2 in the 7th minute of the match.

In the second quarter Argentina maintained possession of the ball and was able to take the advantage in the 18th minute converted by Ceballos # 7. by a pealty stroke.

During the third quarter, the USA went looking the tie, was able to convert in the 22nd minute 'Kaeppeler 29 # through a penalty corner. In the 26th minute,  Harris # 10 had a green card, and Argentina in minute 27 'managed to score with Gonzalez # 15 giving Argentina a partial victory.

The last quarter started with the game 2-1, during the last minutes both wanted to win. In minute 39 'Ceballos # 7 scored his second goal of the match, putting Argentina ahead by a greater difference, the Argentine player Eleicegui # 5 had a green card in 39'.

Throbbing the end USA managed to convert through a penalty corner by Kentwell # 2 putting the game 3- 2, already in the last seconds of an exciting final, the Argentine player Ceballos # 7 at 40' extended the advantage, finishing 4 - 2 being Argentina the champion of the Pan American Cup.

Final Standings:
1) Argentina
2) USA
3) Canada

Individual Awards:
- Top goal-scorer: Pat Harris, USA (6 goals)
- Player of the Tournament: Juan Eleicegui, ARG
- Goal-keeper of the Tournament: Alan Frias, Argentina

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

Women: USA PAHF Indoor Champions

Spring City, PA, USA

Final: USA vs. Canada (Photo: Mark Palczewski)

Finale: USA vs. Canada : 3-0

In a match without much action, the United States defeated Canada 3-0 and became the Pan-American champion, thus obtaining a place for the next indoor World Cup to be played next February in Belgium.

The goals that began to define the course of the game came at 4 and 6 minutes thanks to the actions of Ashley Sessa and Rose Hope. Then it turned into a hard match.

During the second quarter no goal for none of the teams and there was only one penaltyt corner in favor of the United States, but it was well defended by Shankar Premakanthan's led. Coming to the end of the first half, captain Alison Lee was sanctioned with a yellow card for a repeat offense; however, the result was not altered.

In the third quarter, Canada had its chances to shorten the distance since the game took place closer to the area defended by Samantha Carlino but could not find the goal and it was also 2 minutes with an extra player due to the yellow card sanction to Sessa. At the end she had the clearest opportunity to score when he got a penalty corner, whose shot was deflected or when seconds before times up they shot at goal, but the action was invalidated because the ball came out high and was considered dangerous by Diego Barbas, one of the match umpires.

The last quarter of the game also went smoothly until the Canadian coach, with 2 minutes to go, decided to take out his goalkeeper Kathryn Williams and play with 6 outfield players to seek a tie. With 1.20 minutes remaining, the United States generated a penalty corner in favor that was well defended and just 20 seconds later another, which with Rose's shot allowed them to seal the final 3-0 and hang the gold medal.

3rd place: Argentina vs. Uruguay : 4-3

Bronze for Argentina

They beat Uruguay 5-4 and took third place in the tournament.

The Argentine team defeated Uruguayan team 5-4 and won the third Place in the 2021 Indoor Pan American Cup.

The first quarter began with both teams pressing and trying to stifle the rival's exits. With a lot of concentration and good collective defenses they could not take advantage each other and only in the second quarter would the goals arrive. The first at 12 minutes through Carina Guzman and the second at 16 minutes thanks to  Lucía Cocaro. With this 2-0 run, Argentina managed to go ahead at halftime.

The third quarter was vibrant: just 3 minutes into the game, Uruguay had already managed to tie the game thanks to goals from Teresa Viana and Carolina Mutilva, the latter from a penalty corner.

The Argentine reaction would come with Julia Gomez who put her team in front again but the Uruguayan team would again achieve the tie with the goal of Constanza Barrandeguy at the end of the period.

In the last quarter, Uruguay managed to take the lead for the first time in the match with a penalty stroke from Camila de Maria, but the top scorer of the day would appear again, Lucía Cocaro, who at 33 and 35 minutes scored on the net, achieving for Argentina goes to the front by 5 to 4.

Finally the buzzer sounded and the girls from Argentina, headed by Fernando Ferrara, celebrated obtaining third place and a bronze medal at the 2021 Pan American Indoor Cup.

Final Standings:
1) USA
2) Canada
3) Argentina
4) Uruguay
5) Guyana

Individual Awards:
- Top goal-scorer: Hope Rose, USA (13 goals)
- Player of the Tournament: Ashley Sessa, USA
- Goal-keeper of the Tournament: Kathryn Williams, CAN

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

Indoor USMNT Fall in Hard-Fought IPAC Final

Image Taken by Mark Palczewski

SPRING CITY, Pa. - It was a hard-fought battle from the start for the No. 42 U.S. Men’s National Indoor Team when they took on No. 20 Argentina in the men’s Indoor Pan American Cup Final. Despite a game that saw USA leave it all out on the court, the red, white and blue fell to Los Leones 2-4, missing the FIH Hockey Indoor World Cup qualification.

Two minutes into the match, Argentina earned a penalty corner. Off the attempt, JaJa Kentwell (Spring City, Pa.) saved it off the line, in the air to keep Los Leones out. USA recorded their first shot from Christian DeAngelis (Doylestown, Pa.) in the fifth minute that was saved by Argentina goalkeeper Alan Frias. Moments later, Argentina had a fast break where the shot hit the post and Jonathan Klages (Berlin, Germany) saved the following attempt. Kentwell was issued a 1-minute green card in the seventh minute, which also resulted in an Argentina penalty corner. USA’s defensive unit remained strong as Aki Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany) deflected it away. In the final seconds of the first, Klages was tested with a baseline shot.

The second frame saw USA generate more offensive chances. A close one came in the 27th minute when Pat Harris (Moorpark, Calif.) had a spinning pass down the Kentwell on the right baseline who passed it across to DeAngelis, whose shot went wide. A minute later, DeAngelis had another shot that hit the outside of the net. Klages came up with a big save, but the ensuing play earned Argentina a penalty stroke, which Agustin Ceballos converted to put Los Leones ahead 0-1. In the final minute of the half, Klages again was challenged and came up with the stop.

Argentina started the third with a close chance, a long ball into the circle found Ceballos who deflected it over the goal. Down the other way, Vincent Heller (Stuttgart, Germany) pushed it on Frias’ pads with no result. USA kept looking to thread forward and a long ball from Kaeppeler got through to Kentwell who earned USA a penalty corner. Kaeppeler tied the game after sending it into the net. In the 26th minute, Argentina earned a penalty corner following DeAngelis falling to the court, but Kentwell again stopped it on the goal line. Following, Harris was issued a green card for a hard tackle which also earned Los Leonos a penalty corner. USA became two athletes down on the defensive line after breaking early and Joaquin Gonzalez scored to put Argentina back ahead.

USA held possession at the start of the fourth, looking for the opportune moment to go forward. Four minutes in, Kaeppeler had a great run down the middle and passed left to DeAngelis whose shot toward goal was just missed by a running in Kaeppeler. Just under three minutes to go, USA pulled Klages for another athlete on the court. Ceballos scored again for Argentina to make it 1-3 but not before Juan Eleicegui received a green card for excessive celebration. USA kept pressuring and earned a penalty corner with 1:19 to go, that Kentwell scored to bring the red, white and blue within one. Immediately off the restart, Ceballos scored on an open goal to make the final 2-4.

Today's game also marked a historical career milestone as Pat Harris (Moorpark, Calif.) played in his 50th international indoor match, making him the most capped men's indoor athlete. At the conclusion of the event, Harris also earned the men's IPAC Top Scorer.

USFHA media release

Women Defend IPAC Title, Qualify for FIH Hockey Indoor World Cup

Image Taken by Mark Palczewski

SPRING CITY, Pa. – The No. 12 U.S. Women’s National Indoor Team defeated No. 15 Canada to defend their Indoor Pan American Cup title and qualify for the FIH Hockey Indoor World Cup.

USA opened the scoring three minutes into the match when Hope Rose (Dauphin, Pa.) sent a cross court pass to Ashley Sessa (Schwenksville, Pa.) on the right side. She drove it into the circle and scored to give USA a 1-0 lead. Three minutes later Rose extended the lead with a reverse goal. USA produced a few more chances but couldn’t extend the margin.

A close chance came for Canada 30 seconds into the second frame, when Elise Wong’s shot went wide. USA jumped to the front foot, getting off a few shots. First from Corinne Zanolli (Pittsburgh, Pa.), then a minute later, a shot from Rose was saved off the shoulder of Canada goalkeeper Kathryn Williams. Canada earned a penalty corner but smart running by Sessa cut down the shot.

USA started the third, an athlete up from a 2-yellow card issued to Canada’s Ali Lee at the end of the half. Within the first minute, Madison Orobono (Macungie, Pa.) got a shot off that was saved by Williams and Rose’s rebound attempt was also saved. In the 22nd minute, Sessa was given a 2-minute yellow, as Canada pressed forward forcing Sam Carlino (Lawrence Township, N.J.) to make a couple of saves. Canada maintained majority of possession in the final minutes as USA’s defensive unit held strong not allowing a result.

The fourth quarter started static before Canada started to feel the pressure of needing to score. With 2:30 remaining on the clock, Canada pulled their goalkeeper but couldn’t find an outcome. USA earned a penalty corner with a minute to go, and although Ali Campbell’s (Gilbertsville, Pa.) first shot hit the crossbar, Rose followed up and scored to make the final 3-0.

During the awards ceremony, Hope Rose earned women's IPAC Top Scorer of the Tournament and Ashley Sessa was named Most Valuable Player of the Tournament.

USFHA media release

Argentina men and USA women qualify for Indoor Hockey World Cup

Argentina celebrate WC qualification PIC: Mark Palczewski/panamhockey

Argentina men qualified for the Indoor World Cup for the first time after a thrilling 4-2 win over USA in Spring City, Pennsylvania.

Los Leones beat USA 4-2 in the Indoor Pan American Cup Final to qualify for next February’s rescheduled indoor showpiece in Belgium.

Agustin Ceballos scored two goals in a minute for the world No.20 side right at the end of the final to seal the title.

World No. 12 side USA women beat Canada to defend their Indoor Pan American Cup title and qualify for women’s indoor World Cup.

Ashley Sessa opened the scoring in the fourth minute, Hope Rose doubling the lead two minutes later.

There was limited action thereafter before Rose notched a second at the death.

Rose earned women’s IPAC Top Scorer of the Tournament and Sessa was named Most Valuable Player.

Argentina women took bronze with a 4-3 win over Uruguay.

The FIH Hockey Indoor World Cup is set to take place in Liège, Belgium next February.

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Switching from handball to hockey changed my life, says India women's forward Udita

Udita, who has played 32 matches so far, was named in the 16-member Indian team that will participate at the Tokyo Games beginning 23 July.

File image of Indian women's hockey team forward Udita. Twitter/ @TheHockeyIndia

Bengaluru: Indian women's hockey team forward Udita says the decision to switch to hockey from handball six years ago changed her life completely as she gears up to represent the country in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

The 23-year-old from Haryana, who has played 32 matches so far, was named in the 16-member Indian team that will participate at the Tokyo Games beginning 23 July.

"It's amazing where life takes you. I only started playing hockey six years ago. Before that, I was busy playing handball. But life had other plans for me," Udita said in a release issued by Hockey India on Monday.

"My handball coach was absent for three consecutive days and led me to choose hockey as an alternative sport. And the choice to play hockey changed my life entirely."

Udita, who made her senior team debut in 2017 and was part of the silver medal-winning team at the 2018 Asian Games, said she is fortunate to have played in some of the biggest sporting events in her career so far.

"I was selected for the Junior National Camp in 2015 after some impressive performances in domestic tournaments. Then, I made my debut for the Junior Team in 2016.

"I later went on to lead the junior India squad that won the bronze at the 4th U-18 Women's Asia Cup in 2016.

"I have been very fortunate to have got an opportunity to play for India in some of the biggest events like the Asian Games and the World Cup in London where we had some significant performances as a team."

Talking about the preparations for the Tokyo Games, Udita said the next few weeks are going to be the most crucial days of their lives.

"The Indian team only has one focus right now, which is Tokyo. There is no doubt that the next few weeks are going to be the most crucial days of our lives," she said.

"Everything we do now, we will do with an aim to produce the best results at the Tokyo Olympics."

Udita said she has learned a lot from experienced players such as Rani and Vandana Katariya.

"Training with Rani and Vandana has taught me a lot of things. They have played nearly 500 games for India between them and share a very good rapport," she said.

They are very experienced players and have always supported me during my time with the team. I am very lucky to have seniors like them around in the team."


Barry Middleton appointed Holcombe director of hockey

Art attack - England's Barry Middleton speeds towards 308 caps (c) Ady Kerry

Barry Middleton, regarded as one of Britain’s greatest players, has been appointed director of hockey at Holcombe HC as he continues his development off the pitch.

Middleton, 37, will combine his role with playing in the men’s Premier Division and his involvement with the England under-21 as an assistant coach.

David South, Holcombe’s president, said: “Barry’s reputation precedes him. His all round experience, unprecedented number of GB and England international caps and general all round hockey expertise makes him the ideal person to take this role.

“The club are very excited about the input Barry can bring to our further planned progression and he takes up his role with immediate effect.”

Doncaster-born Middleton ended his international career after the 2018 men’s World Cup, finishing with 432 caps and netting 119 goals over a 16-year career.

In all, he played in four Olympic games, four World Cups, eight European Championships and four Commonwealth Games.

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The Hockey Paper

A Namibian hockey giant departs

by Helge Schütz

Former Namibia Hockey Union president Marc Nel. File photo

NAMIBIA'S hockey community was still struggling to come to terms with the news that its president Marc Nel had passed away due to Covid-19 complications on Saturday.

Shortly after the news broke, tributes started pouring in on social media, expressing shock and disbelief and paying homage to a great leader who loved hockey.

“It's with shock and sadness that we have learnt of the passing of the president of the Namibia Hockey Union. He was a great leader, a father to the union, and a passionate and dedicated sportsman who always wanted the best for everyone. What a loss to sports and hockey in particular, not only in Namibia, but also beyond our borders and globally,” the president of the Namibia National Olympic Committee, Abner Xoagub said.

"To his family and the hockey family at large, our heartfelt condolences and may our Heavenly Father comfort you all during these dark hours. Let's keep the faith and each other in our prayers… may his soul rest in eternal peace,” said Xoagub.

"I am so sorry for your loss,” said the Dutch hockey coach, Sven van der Most, who was a technical advisor of Namibia's men's team a few years ago.

"I met Marc in 2018 and was impressed by his love and vision for Namibian hockey. What a kind and friendly person. Your message after our 17-1 loss against Egypt said it all: 'We scored against Egypt, well done!'

"I will miss you, Namibia hockey will miss you, all your beloved ones will miss you. I wish all relatives a lot of strength in these difficult times. Rest in peace Marc. You were and are a superstar,” he said.

"RIP Marc. I knew you as a young umpire, then again when you presided over Namibia's qualification for the Women's Indoor World Cup in 2017,” said Gavin Featherstone, former South Africa and United States national coach.

"Between those times you gave everything to and for hockey in Namibia. An absolute credit to the sport and to all the many friends that shared your life,” said Featherstone.

"RIP to a great leader with a golden heart,” said Jackie Gertze of the Namibia Football Association's women's desk, while Nel's former school mate Charlie Perreira, who went on to play for, and coach South Africa, said: "RIP Marc, I have such wonderful memories of school hockey in the 70's.”

Maggy Mengo, the captain of Namibia's national women's team said she was still struggling to come to terms with the news.

"I'm not processing this very well; Covid-19 is taking a lot of our people.

Marc was a phenomenal leader who had so much passion for hockey. He had a vision and was determined to accomplish that as a president for hockey. We had long chats about the future of hockey in Namibia and I got to know him so well and understood his dreams for hockey. He had nothing but the best for it in mind and I will miss him so much,” she said.

"He was my national coach at our first Indoor World Cup. He was a bold and driven person, and a leader who I will miss a lot. Rest well Mr President. As an athlete's representative I'd like to convey our deepest condolences to his kids, family and friends. We as hockey players have a lost a great leader and your legacy will live on,” she added.

Nel excelled at all levels of hockey, as a player, a coach, an umpire, an administrator and ultimately as president of the NHU, which he served for two terms.

As a player he made his debut for the former South West Africa in 1979 at the age of 17, while he went on to become the youngest umpire at the South African Inter Provincial Tournament (IPT) in the early Eighties.

In the late Eighties he made history when he coached the SWA women's u21 team at the IPT and took them from the B section to third position in the A section - their best result at that stage, and in 1990 he was a member of the first Namibian team that played Zimbabwe during Namibia's independence celebrations.

He umpired numerous international matches, including the first-ever international indoor series between Namibia and South Africa in 2007 and was part of the coaching staff of the Namibian women's team that participated at the 2011 Indoor World Cup in Poland.

He first took over as NHU president in 2000 from the legendary Laurie Jubber, who had served as president for more than 40 years, and then later came back for a second term in 2016.

Long-time Namibian coach and administrator Johan Weyhe said Nel made a huge impact on Namibian hockey.

"I will remember his love for the sport and his vision to get an astro turf for Namibian hockey. It was also a big dream of Doc Jubber, and after he retired, Marc was the driving force to make that a reality.

"His knowledge of Namibian hockey, from schools-level up to international level, was vast - he had hockey contacts all over the world and we have lost a great person,” said Weyhe.

Randy Slabbert, who was a team mate and one of the founding members of Pirates Hockey Club along with Nel, recalled their early playing days.

“I first got to know Marc in 1986 when we played against each another. He played for Ramblers and was a very tough and passionate competitor. He later played for SWA and Namibia and was always very proud to represent his country,” he said.

"He leaves a great legacy as a player, coach, umpire and administrator and his presence next to the hockey field will be sorely missed. Rest in peace Marc,” said Slabbert.

The Namibian

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