Sparked by Pa. players, U.S. Women's National Field Hockey Team wins title in South Africa

  • The U.S. Women's National Field Hockey Team earned a major title on Sunday.
  • The Americans beat Germany 3-2 in a shootout in the Hockey World League Semifinals.
  • Central York High School graduate Lauren Moyer played in each of the Americans' games in the event.

The U.S. Women's National Field Hockey Team is returning from Johannesburg, South Africa, as champions.

The Americans, who train at Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Lancaster County, won the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals on Sunday.

Lauren Moyer

Competing in front of a sold-out crowd at Wits University, the U.S. women, ranked No. 6 in the world, beat No. 7 Germany.

Central York High School graduate Lauren Moyer was a member of the victorious American team. She played in each of the Americans' games during the event at outside midfielder. She did not score.

After being scoreless at the half, Germany found the backboard in the third quarter. The Americans got the equalizer off a penalty stroke late in the game by Taylor West of Princess Anne, Maryland. That forced shootouts, where USA would come out on top, 3-2, to become champions.

"Playing a final against a quality team like Germany, you know you have to be ready," national team coach Janneke Schopman said in a news release. "We struggled with their shape but kept fighting and that's why I love this team. Maybe it wasn't pretty but we didn't give up and managed to create something from nothing."

Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, New York), Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, New Jersey) and Erin Matson (Chadds Ford) scored shootout goals to give the Americans the win. Matson's score decided the outcome.

“The last five minutes of the game were an athletes’ dream,” Vittese said. “Our energy was incredibly positive, we fed off each other’s high work load and intensity. We took accountability of our individual roles and executed our jobs. Most importantly, we stayed together.”

“Germany is an incredible opponent and we had to fight tooth and nail to earn the penalty stroke,” Vittese said. “It was an incredible team effort and I couldn’t be prouder of this group.”

Three different USA athlete also received honors after the tournament. Jill Witmer (Lancaster) earned Top Goal Scorer of the Tournament, tallying five goals throughout the event. Jackie Briggs (Robesonia) earned Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament following her defense during two shootout victories. And Gonzalez was named Best Player of the Tournament.

"This tournament was a great learning experience and I am very pleased with the development of the whole team," Schopman said. 

During the tournament in South Africa, the Americans defeated the only two teams to beat them in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Germany and Great Britain.

Information for this story was provided by USA Field Hockey