Hockeyroos go undefeated in Belgium with final shootout victory

Published Tue 20 Jun 2023

The Hockeyroos have wrapped up their FIH Pro League 2022-23 campaign with a nail biting 3-2 shootout bonus point victory over Belgium in Antwerp.

The final match went down to the wire as the teams could not be separated at the end of regulation time with the scores locked 1-1.

Just as she did against the Netherlands a week earlier, goalkeeper Jocelyn Bartram again came to the fore in the shootout to help the Hockeyroos finish their season on a high note.

The result leaves the Hockeyroos on top of the current FIH Pro League standings with seven wins and 31 points from their 16 matches, although seven of the eight teams below them still have matches in hand. This includes the world number one ranked Netherlands who sit six points adrift but still have seven matches to play.

Heading into the match buoyed by their 2-0 win on Friday, the Hockeyroos were forced to absorb some early pressure from the home side, narrowly surviving a Belgium penalty corner before Steph Kershaw struck in the 10th minute.

Amy Lawton noticed Kershaw’s ghosting run at the back post, sending a pass into the circle and Kershaw managed to make connection with her shot to send the ball through the diving legs of Belgian goalkeeper Elena Sotgiu.

Belgium were back on level terms in the 27th minute courtesy of a Stephanie Vanden Borre drag flick that beat Bartram low to her left.

Sotgiu then came up with a sharp save just before half time to keep out an on target Maddy Fitzpatrick drag flick as the seesawing contest saw the teams have five penalty corners and five shots apiece in the first half.

Within 20 seconds of the resumption the Hockeyroos went inches from restoring their advantage as Rosie Malone’s shot cannoned into the post after the Australians surged forward from the opening pushback.

The ball continued to dart from one end to the other as both sides remained intent to play fast attacking hockey.

Both defences were holding firm until a defining moment of the match came with four minutes to go when a determined run into the circle from Courtney Schonell saw her impeded and awarded a penalty stroke.

Claire Colwill stepped up to take the stroke but she could not beat Sotgiu as the game finished level to leave it decided by a shootout.

Both sides missed their first attempts before Malone and Lawton converted after Belgium also successfully scored from their second and third efforts.

Neither side could find the back of the net with their following two attempts meaning they could not be separated after five shots each. Kaitlin Nobbs gave the Hockeyroos the edge when she converted before Bartram had the final say, denying Justine Rasir to seal the bonus point.

“It was awesome to finish our European tour like that after playing the Netherlands and Belgium who are both really good teams,” said Lawton, who was named Player of the Match.

“Shootouts are always tough…they can go either way. We stuck to our process and have worked on our shootouts throughout this whole Pro League series, so it was a good opportunity to give it a go and luckily we came out on top.”

The Hockeyroos will now return home to prepare for the best-of-three Oceania Cup against New Zealand from 10-13 August, with the winner to automatically qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Match Details
Belgium 1
(Vanden Borre 27’)
Hockeyroos 1 (Kershaw 10’)
Hockeyroos win shootout 3-2
@ Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein, Antwerp

Hockeyroos: 1.Claire Colwill, 2.Rosie Malone, 3.Brooke Peris (c), 4.Amy Lawton, 6.Penny Squibb, 10.Maddy Fitzpatrick, 13.Hattie Shand, 14.Stephanie Kershaw, 15.Kailtin Nobbs, 16.Courtney Schonell, 18.Jane Claxton, 19.Jocelyn Bartram (gk), 20.Karri Somerville, 22.Tatum Stewart, 23.Mariah Williams, 29.Rebecca Greiner, 35.Maddison Brooks
Unused substitute: 7.Aleisha Power (gk)

Team line-ups