The Fans of HockeyWorld Hockey NewsLynch Saved two in Shoot-Out to take Hockeyroos to Semis

The Hockeyroos are through to the semi-final of the Hockey World League Final after a dramatic shoot-out victory over European Champions Germany in searing heat in Tucuman, Argentina.

Hockey Australia LogoThe nail-biting finish saw Madonna Blyth, Kellie White, Georgie Parker and Claire Messent all hold their nerve to score the Hockeyroos’ first four shoot-out attempts with goalkeeper Rachael Lynch proving her expertise between the posts with two fine saves. The match went down to the wire after a 1-1 draw in regulation time.

Victory assures the Hockeyroos of a shot at the medals with a semi-final against either England or Korea on the cards. (Detailed schedule here)

Immediately after the match, Hockeyroos Head Coach Adam Commens called the shoot-out “exciting”, adding “We prepared well for the shoot-out. We spend quite a bit of time practising them and each of the girls has their own plan that they work on.”

Speaking about the game, Commens said, “It was an interesting match. Germany defended doggedly. They had a strategy to close down our counter attack and we weren’t as clinical today as we have been in our previous matches but we’ll take it as a learning experience.

We had enough opportunities to win the game but we weren’t clinical in our set-pieces. We’ve scored penalty corners in our last two games and were confident they would work today but they didn’t quite come off.

Securing a place in the final four continues the team’s streak of contesting the medals in every competition since the London Olympic Games and Commens is pleased with the upward trajectory of the team.

We’ve got a good young group of players coming through from the junior ranks and we’re confident of building the group well towards Rio in 2016,” he added.

With England and Korea set to play off in the third quarter final later in the day, the Head Coach explained the familiarity the Hockeyroos will have with either of their possible opponents.

We know both England and Korea quite well. We played Korea in a Test series earlier this year and we played England a few times in the European summer [including victory in the World League tournament in London]. But they know us well, too.

The Hockeyroos enjoyed the best of action but were denied on a number of occasions by German goalkeeper Barbara Vogel, including a double save in the final five minutes of the match.

Eileen Hoffmann gave the European Champions the lead in the 11th minute when she stole in at the back post to touch home Lea Stockel’s pass from the top of the circle but Ashleigh Nelson rifled home a deserved equaliser midway through the second half. It was Nelson’s 60th goal for the Hockeyroos.

Goalkeeper Rachael Lynch kept the Hockeyroos in contention with a number of blocks early in the second half with Australia trailing 1-0 and they were to prove important as Western Australia Nelson lashed home from around the penalty spot after good built-up play from Claire Messent and Emily Smith.

The goal sparked a surge of Australian pressure but with the German defence holding firm the match went to the lottery of the shoot-out. Hockeyroos captain Madonna Blyth was coolness personified with her opening effort and after Lynch saved Germany’s first, from Julie Muller, Australia always held the upper hand. Kellie White’s low tomahawk under the goalkeeper, Georgie Parker’s uncompromising effort and Claire Messent’s bobbling teaser kept the Hockeyroos ahead until Lynch raced off her line to intercept Lea Stockel before the German could shape to shoot. The save sparked celebratory scenes reminiscent of the Hockeyroos’ shoot-out victory over New Zealand in last month’s Oceania Cup final.

Results:

HOCKEYROOS 1-1 (0-1)* GERMANY
For Hockeyroos: Ashleigh Nelson 48 (F)
For Germany: Eileen Hoffmann 11 (F)

*Hockeyroos win 4-2 on shoot-out

SHOOT-OUT
AUS: Madonna Blyth – goal
GER: Julia Muller – no goal (saved Lynch)
AUS: Kellie White – goal
GER: Marie Mavers – goal
AUS: Georgie Parker – goal
GER: Jana Teschke – goal
AUS: Claire Messent – goal
GER: Lea Stockel – no goal (saved Lynch)

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