The Hockeyroos have earned a hard-fought 2-1 comeback victory over the USA in front of 2,000 hockey fans at the FIH Pro League Match in Sydney on Saturday night.
USA opened the scoring through Danielle Grega in the first term and held onto a dangerous 1-0 lead for 39 minutes before Australia could hit the scoreboard.
Despite dominating the game the Hockeyroos couldn’t convert on any of their numerous opportunities and found themselves in a desperate position heading into the final term.
Breakthrough goals in the final quarter to Jodie Kenny and Mariah Williams solidified Australia’s tense comeback win.
Kenny made her impact in the 46th minute when she fired her best penalty corner flick for the day, rocketing the shot into the top-right corner of the net.
With the pressure mounting on team USA late in the game, Williams nailed a crucial goal in the 52nd minute off of a back stick pass from Emily Chalker, giving the Hockeyroos their first lead of the night.
USA’s Jessica Jecko was named Player of the Match after an outstanding day in the goals.
“I thought we were sluggish at the start. We were creating chances but they were half-chances. USA didn’t have many but they scored,” Hockeyroos Coach Paul Gaudoin said.
“Going into the second half we needed a lift in our urgency and quality and I thought we got that. The tide turned in our favour, so it was good to get a couple of goals.”
Saturday night’s win marks they Hockeyroos fourth regulation win of the FIH Pro League.
The side faces Argentina and New Zealand on the 16 and 17 March in Sydney.
Australia dominated the attack for most of the day, leading circle entries 37-16 and penalty corners 8-2.
Despite their attacking pressure, the Hockeyroos found themselves trailing 1-0 at the half time break.
The USA hit the scoreboard through Grega in the seventh minute, after she found herself with enough room to move close to goals. The USA midfielder sneaked a shot past Aussie goalkeeper Ash Wells.
A penalty corner opportunity in the dying seconds of the first half saw the ball flicked into Brooke Peris, the Australian forward looked sore but was able to play out the match.
Jocelyn Bartram made her presence felt as soon as the second half began. Defending a deadly penalty corner with some impressive stick work from behind her back.
Sophie Taylor had an opportunity to hit the scoreboard in the 36th minute of the match, she found herself within striking distance off of a deflection but her shot fired wide on the near-side.
Another Australian penalty corner chance went array in the 36th minute of the match. Kenny’s shot was stopped by Jecko with an impressive diving save.
Despite multiple penalty corners and circle entries, Australia still trailed 1-0 at the final break.
The fourth quarter started with a chain of penalty corners for Australia and it was co-captain Jodie Kenny who made the breakthrough.
In the 46th minute Kenny started the Australian comeback, nailing her first penalty corner goal for the match.
With the Sydney crowd cheering and chanting, the Hockeyroos continued in their pursuit for victory.
Spurred on by her home crowd, New South Wales forward Mariah Williams gave Australia the lead it needed, scoring a powerful goal in the 52nd minute of the match.
A late defensive stop from Edwina Bone locked in the Hockeyroos’ win.
Australia 2 (Kenny 46′ Williams 52′)
USA 1 (Grega 7′)