Hockeyroos topple USA to boost finals hopes
13 May 2019
HOCKEY: Savannah Fitzpatrick starred with two goals and an assist as the Hockeyroos rounded out an impressive Pacific leg of the FIH Pro League with a 4-0 win over USA in Pennsylvania over the weekend.
Fitzpatrick fired in two last-quarter goals and provided an assist for captain Emily Chalker as the Hockeyroos raced away in the final 15 minutes following Rosie Malone’s 19th minute opener.
The result solidifies the Hockeyroos’ grip on a finals spot, inside the top four, moving the side to 21 points from 11 matches.
Australia were dominant against Team USA, with 12-3 shots, 45-25 circle entries and more possession but had to wait until the final quarter to seal the win, having held a slender 1-0 lead until the 50th minute.
The win also completes Australia’s Pacific leg with seven points from three games, after wins over New Zealand and USA and a draw in Argentina, before losing in a shootout.
Malone was named Player of the Match after her brilliant backhand goal, before turning provider with two assists for Fitzpatrick in the final 15.
"It felt really good. Coming off our shootout loss to Argentina it was great to get a win today," Malone said.
“The US were fighting the whole time and it was neck and neck until that last quarter where we got a few goals."
The Hockeyroos are next in action in the FIH Pro League against China in Changzhou on Sunday 2 June.
Australia’s Sophie Taylor had the first chance of the game with a sweep from a fourth minute penalty which was saved, while Maddy Fitzpatrick flicked wide from a first quarter short corner too.
Gold Coast forward Malone broke the deadlock in the 19th minute when she created something out of nothing, turning and shooting into the backboard on the backhand from just inside the circle.
Ashley Hoffman came close for the hosts with a flick which went wide, while USA keeper Kelsey Bing saved well from Georgia Wilson’s close-range chance before half-time.
USA came out after the long interval with renewed intent, putting Australia under pressure with chances to Hoffman and Anna Dessoye.
Grace Stewart went on a great baseline run in the 39th minute, opening up a chance for Malone who shot wide from a bouncing pass.
Australia blew the game apart in the final 10 minutes, with Fitzpatrick finding space inside the D from Malone’s deflected pass and firing home.
Less than 60 seconds later, Fitzpatrick had another when she swept past Bing from Malone’s cutback.
Chalker rounded out the scoring in the 58th minute, after Fitzpatrick broke forward with her initial shot saved by Bing, before retrieving the rebound and squaring for the captain to deflect in.