Thursday, June 13, 2024

FIH Hockey Pro League: Lily Owsley solo goal sets up GB women win

London — Miriam Pritchard, watched by former GB great Maddie Hinch in the USA dugout, put herself in the frame for an Olympic ticket with a string of late saves as Great Britain women edged out USA 3-2 to record their first outright win in this season’s FIH Pro League.

GB came from a goal down to score through Lily Owsley’s superb solo goal, Grace Balsdon and Fiona Crackles before USA scored late and Pritchard was forced into a series of fine close range stops from the set piece.

“We looked at them and knew they would be exposed on the left foot and that’s music to my ears – I love to carry the ball against the defender’s left foot,” said Hockey Paper columnist Owsley of her strike. “At first I thought I had got a few fouls and I thought ‘why hasn’t the whistle gone here, give me a corner!’, so I just cracked it.

“We need midfielders and forwards, everyone to be on the scoresheet and it’s something we have been working on and so I’m glad to have capitalised on it.”

Owsley’s equaliser goal was solitary perfection following Liz Yeager’s penalty corner opener in the 10th minute. Picking the ball up on the left touchline, she weaved and darted through USA’s bewildered defence, her 3D carrying skills allowing her to open space in the circle and find an opening to goal.

Balsdon notched GB’s second via a penalty corner move in a clinical third quarter. A third came a minute before the hooter as Ellie Rayer’s speed down the right baseline set up Crackles to thud home.

Sophia Gladieux made the last five minutes slightly awkward for GB, in a period where Balsdon had been yellow carded, when she scored against the run of play and bundled home past Miriam Pritchard.

The Hampstead & Westminster stopper, who played a leading hand in her club reaching the league finals in April, was forced into action in the closing stages.

She twice had to save with her boot low down from successive penalty corners to deny a USA equaliser and then again as time ticked.

With Sabbie Heesh currently injured but back training, Olympic spots are up for grabs from between the posts to the forward lines.

Owsley added: “It’s a cagey time and we want to go into the Pro League putting the team first. It’s about team building and that’s the best way to get your spot on the team. It’s a vulnerable time but if we stick together we can keep winning games.”

Total Hockey

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