The USA Field Hockey team defeated Argentina to bring home GOLD in a nail-biting, TWO overtime, 6-5 shootout victory at the 21st Maccabiah games in Israel.
After a scoreless first half, the Americans scored two unanswered goals in the third quarter. Moments before the end of the period, Argentina cut the lead to 2-1 on a penalty corner.
The fourth quarter was dominated by Argentina with corner after corner, and they came through with a game-tying goal to send the match to overtime.
Completing two scoreless overtime periods, the game was settled with penalty shots.
The USA came out on top in the shootout sending the USA team into a racous celebration on the field after one of the most exciting Gold Medal games witnessed. The victory was sweet revenge after Argentina pummeled the USA 5-0 in their first matchup on Thursday, July 21, in the preliminaries
Click through the Instagram post below for photos of the team holding an American flag that was carried to Israel by Gianna Duddy to honor her grandfather, and two videos, one of the game winning shot and the second of the celebration.
Eliza Phillips (Liza) from Simsbury, CT, played defensive back for the team, starting in all five games. She discovered field hockey at the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, CT, under legendary Coach Mimi Duran, assistant athletic director and one of seven women inducted into the Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame. Eliza was named the junior varsity field hockey team’s Most Valuable Player in 2015, and the next year won the Varsity Coaches’ Award, honored for “Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts.” She also competed in alpine skiing, racing for Blandford Ski Area’s team (Blandford, MA) and helping lead EWS to the NEPSAC championship in 2017.
Covid gave her a final season at Nichols as a graduate student and in the summer prior, her coach sent her the email about tryouts for the Maccabiah team in Baltimore. She decided to go for it. At tryouts, she met Kelsi McDevitt from Pennsylvania, a freshman at Westfield State in Massachusetts. They would meet again at a tournament at Smith College in September. There they both played against another Maccabiah teammate, Rachel Katzenburg, a goalie for Mount Holyoke College. Becca Munoz played at Hamilton College with one of Liza’s teammates from EWS. The rest of the team includes Gianna Duddy, Philadelphia, PA, DeSales University; Sarah Edelson, Blue Bell, PA, Amherst College; Paige Forester, Glencoe, IL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Julia Freedman, Greenwich, CT, Yale University; Sophie Freedman, Greenwich, CT, University of Pennsylvania; Maya Geller, Yardley, PA, University of Pennsylvania; Samantha Moonay, Yardley, PA, Dickinson College; Briana Rubenstein, Blue Point, NY, Adelphi University; Bailey Schwab, Highland, MD, Johns Hopkins University; Bentlea Schwartz, Louisville, KY, Ohio University; Zoe Shevitz, Montclair, NJ, Montclair High School; Eliana Swell, Rumson, NJ, Georgetown University; Rose Weseley, Kingston, NY, Wellesley College; Yael Yonah, Hoboken, NJ, Montclair State University.
USA field hockey opened their quest for gold with a first game victory over Australia in the 21st Maccabiah games in Ramat Gan, Israel, with a 10-0 shutout on July 17.
On Monday, July 18, they followed suit with a 3-0 win over the host country, Israel. On Tuesday, July 19 against the Netherlands, they fell behind 1-0 and responded with three unanswered goals to win their third straight game 3-1, guaranteeing a spot in the Gold medal game.
In all the games, they were relentless, keeping the ball out of their defensive zone and limiting scoring opportunities for their opponents. Australia didn’t have any shots on goal, while Israel only managed two. The Netherlands came out strong, scoring in the first minutes of the game, but the US responded quickly, tying the game on a goal by Sophie Freedman, her sixth in three games.
Freedman led the US team, scoring with 4 goals against Australia, one goal against Israel and one against the Netherlands. Sunday’s additional 6 goals were individually scored by Dylan Breier, Paige Forester, Becca Munoz, Maya Geller, Julia Freedman, and Kelsi McDevitt. On Monday, she was joined by teammates Rose Weseley and Dylan Breier (her second goal of the games). On Tuesday, Julia Freedman added her second goal of the games, as did Maya Geller.
The heat played a huge factor for players, coaches, spectators and officials. One official suffered heat stroke on Monday. Players were warned before they arrived of the oppressive temperatures. Hydration was preached from day one.
“It’s just a completely different mentality,” said Liza Phillips, a defensive back on the team. “At home, 75 was a hot game, but here that’s cold.” The USA’s two games against Argentina are available on Diario Stampa of Argentina (Search: Second half hockey open Argentina vs United States)
The USA’s two games against Argentina are available on Diario Stampa of Argentina (Search: Second half hockey open Argentina vs United States)