Published 5:17 p.m. ET July 23, 2017 | Updated 6:10 p.m. ET July 23, 2017
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.
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
Cape Town – Sport24?s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points after the 2017 Super Rugby quarter-finals:
1. Ruan Combrinck has BMT!
Springbok wing Ruan Combrinck was the Lions? hero when he slotted a monster 55m penalty late in the game to help his side to a comeback 23-21 win over the Sharks at Ellis Park.
It seems as though the Lions? chance had gone when Combrinck missed a relatively easy shot in the 70th minute, but he stepped up when it really mattered a few minutes later.
Big match temperament is what is needed and Combrinck showed what he?s made of…
2. Fuming Sharks coach
Sharks coach Robert du Preez was not a happy camper following his side?s narrow defeat.
Reports indicated that Du Preez had initially refused to attend the post-match press-conference, presumably because he was upset at the officiating.
When Du Preez eventually arrived for the presser, he stayed for about 90 seconds.
?I can’t comment on bad officiating, you know that,? Du Preez said.
While I do not condone Du Preez’s attitude, I reckon he had reason to feel aggrieved.
The Sharks were unlucky to lose lock Stephan Lewies to a yellow card early in the second half.
Referee Marius van der Westhuizen had warned Sharks prop Thomas du Toit over his scrummaging but there was no team warning and Lewies was unlucky and understandably looked puzzled as he left the field.
The Lions scored two tries during that period and there?s no doubt it changed the momentum of the match.
Five minutes from time, it was also clear that Courtnall Skosan had tackled Kobus van Wyk without the ball. The referee?s excuse was that Van Wyk had not gone for the ball… but unfortunately this is not American Football where you can tackle a player without the ball…
Right at the death the Sharks could also feel hard done by for not being awarded a penalty at ruck time – it appeared as though the Lions were holding on and had it been a different time of the match, a penalty would likely have been the order of the day.
3. Jantjies worry for Boks?
Elton Jantjies? performance at Ellis Park would be a concern for Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.
Jantjies? goal-kicking was horribly out of sorts – so much so that it started to affect the rest of his game.
By the time he was subbed in the 61st minute, it was clear that his confidence was shot.
Jantjies is a player who thrives on confidence but once he loses it, he struggles under pressure.
He?s had a terrific season – for the Lions and Boks – but Coetzee will be hoping that Saturday was just a once-off hiccup.
Last year, one bad performance in the Super Rugby final adversely affected the rest of Jantjies? season.
4. Stormers lack BMT
The Stormers again showed that they just don?t have it when it really matters.
Saturday?s 17-11 reverse to the Chiefs at Newlands was a far cry from last season?s 60-21 humiliation at the same stage – but the harsh reality is that it was the Stormers? eighth defeat in a Super Rugby playoff game in nine attempts.
SP Marais had the chance to put his side ahead in the final 10 minutes but failed with his penalty attempt.
These are the moments the Stormers clearly aren?t capable of handling.
They are now in the same boat as the Proteas cricket team who have shown over the years just how tough it is once you?ve been labelled as underachievers when it really matters.
5. Stormers have closed the gap, but…
Yes, there was marked improvement from last year when the Stormers were humiliated in a home quarter-final by the Chiefs, but there were enough flaws in their game this season to suggest they will remain also-rans in this competition.
Defence was a major weakness – evidenced by the 62 tries they conceded in 16 matches – while the lack of a proper fetcher, the limitations of a small back-three and poor decision-making under pressure continued to haunt the Cape side.
Another worrying aspect is the Stormers? recruitment.
There are talks that the Cheetahs wing duo of Raymond Rhule and Sergeal Petersen are heading to the Cape.
These are two great attacking players but will add nothing more than what the Stormers had this season – neither Rhule nor Petersen are particularly renowned for their defensive and tactical prowess.
There were also reports linking Cheetahs flank Oupa Mohoje and former Bulls centre/wing JJ Engelbrecht to the Stormers.
These signings would be decent, but unlikely to turn the team in championship contenders…
Jaylon Smith will take the field for the Cowboys on Monday when they open up their training camp in Oxnard, California.
How much the linebacker does and how much he practices after that, however, are still up in the air.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett spent a large portion of their camp-opening press conference Sunday praising the work Smith has done to come back from a devastating knee injury that he suffered in the final game of his Notre Dame career. But they both reiterated they will use caution with their 2016 second-round pick.
“The biggest thing for us is we’re going to take it day by day,” Garrett said. “He’s made great progress because his approach, it’s a laser-like focus on what he needs to do each day. The strides he’s made has been fantastic. And one of the reasons we as an organization took a risk on Jaylon is because of the kind of young man he is. He had a very serious injury but we bet on him because of the kind of guy he is and he hasn’t disappointed.
“He’s been so much better than any of our expectations could have imagined about how to handle this. His demeanor, his work ethic, all of that. So rather than saying he’s going to come back here, he’s going to do this then, all that stuff is arbitrary. Keep doing what you’re doing each and every day. Get better and better and better. He’s going to come out to practice [Monday] and we’ll see how he does. We anticipate him doing well. If it follows with what he did in the spring, we’ll make our decisions going forward.”
Smith’s knee and the question of whether or not his nerve is regenerating have accounted for endless headlines since he was drafted by the Cowboys. Some, including Jones himself, wondered if the knee would ever get healthy enough to where Smith could be an effective NFL player.
On Sunday, Jones said he couldn’t be happier with the recovery process and the gamble he took on the player he said the Cowboys had “No. 1 on our draft board” last year and “would have been at the top of the board this year” as well.
“It looks really good,” said Jones, who added the nerve is “certainly” regenerating. “All testing, all feeling, really looks as good as I could have hoped that it would look at the time. We’ll see.”
Even if Smith is limited this camp, as is expected, Jones said that won’t matter much to him. After all, the owner watched Ezekiel Elliott miss most of training camp last summer with a hamstring injury and then watched him run wild on NFL defenses all season.
“Of course we know how limited Zeke was at training camp last year,” Jones said. “So, so much for that in terms of how impactful that might be.”
Jones, Garrett and executive vice president Stephen Jones touched on a few other Cowboys topics at their news conference:
? The Cowboys appear to be more of a “when” rather than an “if” when it comes to getting a long-term deal done with star offensive lineman Zack Martin.
“We’d love to get Zack Martin done,” Stephen Jones said. “We’ve made that real clear and we’ll be going to work on him. I think he’s an important part of our future. He represents everything we want our players to be about. He’s not only a great player on the field, he’s a great person off the field. We’ll be hard at it trying to do it.
“It’s important — it’s going to be a big number as we all know and it has to be right in terms for not only us but for him. I feel confident we’ll get something worked out. I wouldn’t say anything is pushing this one way or the other in terms of the urgency. … As far as I’m concerned, he’s going to be here for a long time and we’ll work that out with him.”
? The Cowboys will open up training camp without quarterback Tony Romo on the roster for the first time since 2002. For Jerry Jones, Dak Prescott’s emergence has him feeling a lot better about not seeing No. 9 under center this summer.
“I’m very surprised I can answer your question with an element of surprise that I am a lot more comfortable than I ever thought I would be at this time last year or beyond not having Romo,” Jerry Jones said. “That has everything to do with the year that Dak had. And more importantly the way that Dak is approaching — and approached throughout last year — but approaching this year. So it’s a really good feeling. I’m excited about the fans’ excitement about Dak. So all of that makes this a lot more palatable, and a lot more comfortable than I thought I would ever be with not having Romo in this short of time span not on the team.”
? Jerry Jones told reporters that after reviewing everything with regard to the NFL’s investigation into Elliott, “there is absolutely nothing, not one thing that I’ve seen that has anything to do with domestic violence.”
“When people ask me what I’d have been if I’d not been a cricket player, I say… a millionaire,” laughs Lynne Thomas, who 44 years ago helped England to victory in the first ever cricket World Cup.
The women’s game beat the men onto the global crease, with their inaugural World Cup in 1973 coming two years before the first male event.
Not only was batswoman Lynne, now 77, part of that wider trailblazing moment for sport, she played her part on the pitch too, scoring 263 runs in four innings, and making the first World Cup century.
What makes her and the England team’s victory the more remarkable is that they played and promoted the women’s game in the 1960s and 1970s for no financial reward, in fact their love of cricket left them regularly out of pocket.
By way of contrast, when England take to the field in Sunday’s sell-out 2017 final at Lords they will be playing for a cool $660,000 (?512,000). Even the losing team will collect $330,000. It is all part of an ICC pot of $2m prize money this year.
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England’s World Cup winners from 1973 honoured
“It is great for the girls that they can now make a career out of cricket if that is what they chose to do in life,” says Lynne, who combined playing cricket for England with playing international hockey for Wales, and holding down a full-time job as a PE teacher.
“I am pleased for them. When I was playing I never imagined that one day it would be something that could provide a living.”
The inaugural Women’s World Cup was the result of the vision of the late Rachael Heyhoe Flint and a ?40,000 backing from businessman Sir Jack Hayward, both from Wolverhampton (the latter went on to own football club Wolves).
Organised as a round robin event, England – whose team included nine teachers – beat Australia in the final deciding match on 28 July 1973.
“We didn’t get given any medals for winning the World Cup, although we were introduced to Princess Anne,” recalls Lynne of that historic day at Edgbaston.
“We drove ourselves to all of the England games in the tournament, and after the game against Australia I had to be back at work in south Wales on the Monday.”
It was the same story throughout her cricketing career – playing solely for the glory of winning, and for meagre playing expenses, interspersed with bouts of fundraising to keep the women’s cricket show on the road.
“I can tell you exactly about our finances – we paid for everything,” she recalls of an international career that saw her play 10 Tests, and 12 one day internationals for England over a 13-year period.
“We paid for our playing kit, our playing equipment, and most of the cost of our tours.”
To raise money towards the cost of those overseas tours. cricketing legend Rachael Heyhoe Flint organised fund raising across England, and beyond.
And that meant a lot of travelling for Lynne, the sole Welsh player in the England team.
“Those games covered the whole of England,” she says. “We also played a fund raising game in Edinburgh one time. We played there on the Sunday, and drove back on the Sunday night.
“We worked, most of us had jobs, and had to be back at work on the Monday. It was pure dedication.”
The Women’s Cricket Association – all volunteers – who ran Women’s Cricket at the time, also paid a small amount towards the cost of overseas tours.
Lynne went on a four-and-a-half month tour of New Zealand and Australia in 1968-69, and fortunately her understanding employers Neath Girls Grammar School gave her the time off with pay.
She also went on tour to the West Indies in 1971, when Sir Jack Hayward stepped in to fund the fares of the travelling party.
“When we were away on tour we only stayed in hotels when we played Test matches, when we played friendly matches we were put up to stay with local families,” recalls Lynne.
Lynne got interested in cricket through father Raymond, a keen village cricketer and member of Dafen cricket club in Llanelli.
“From the age of six I used to watch him play every weekend. When I got to eight or nine I got my own cricket bat from Woolworths and would play with a tennis ball.
“There was no girls’ cricket when I was growing up, I played in a boys team at Christchurch church in Llanelli.”
She went on to play for Cardiff, Sussex Women, Glamorgan Women and West Counties Women.
“For the first couple of my playing years I didn’t have a car, and friends would have to drive me around,” says Lynne, a full MCC member.
“Then I managed to buy a little Singer Chamois car. I would drive thousands of miles each year playing cricket and hockey.”
Lynne Thomas on cricket pioneer Rachael Heyhoe Flint
“She was wonderful person and a tremendous captain. She had a very good rapport with people from all levels of society.
“She was a good leader, and we would have done anything for her. She was one of the girls – on and off the field.
“She fought for women’s sport, truthfully and in an honest way. She started it all off, if it wasn’t for her the present day women would not enjoy a cricket career, and we wouldn’t have had the World Cup in England this year.”
Love of the game
Lynne, who with her team-mates were belatedly awarded winners’ medals this summer, will be at Lord’s on Sunday for the culmination of a tournament which she says “will have helped spread the game around the world”.
During the 1973 event she and Enid Bakewell put on 246 – an English opening partnership record that stood until Sarah Taylor and Caroline Atkins made 268 at Lord’s against South Africa in 2008.
“I was at Lord’s when our record was broken, and we were interviewed in the pavilion for three-quarters of an hour by the media,” she says. “But when we broke the record in 1973 nobody knew we had done it, not even ourselves.
“It was only decades later that my niece read about it in the Guinness Book of Firsts. We just played for the love of if, and did not worry about records.”
She adds: “It was the same all through my career – in fact we paid out for the pleasure of playing, it was all about money going out, not coming in.”
Les Miles is interested in the head coaching vacancy for the Ole Miss Rebels and told people close to the program as much, USA Today‘s Dan Wolken reported Sunday.
Miles would replace Hugh Freeze, who resigned Thursday. Wolken and Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde reported Freeze used a school-issued phone to call an escort service in Tampa, Florida.
Almost immediately, Miles became mentioned as a possible candidate to succeed Freeze. Bleacher Report’s Brad Shepard listed him among eight coaches who could realistically take over at Ole Miss:
“Coaching Ole Miss would give Miles the opportunity to stick it to the Tigers every single year for that, and while a lot of Rebels fans would be skeptical and maybe even angry at the hire, all it would take would be a single win over LSU to turn those frowns around.
It would be hard for [Ole Miss athletic director Ross] Bjork to do better than this.”
Miles would arrive with plenty of experience in the SEC after he spent 11.5 years with the LSU Tigers. During that time, he compiled a 114-34 record and helped win a national championship in 2007.
Miles has the coaching ability and name recognition to ease any concerns from fans that Ole Miss could be due for a decline after losing Freeze, who brought the program out of obscurity and into the national consciousness.
The specter of the NCAA looms large, though. The Rebels issued a self-imposed bowl ban in 2017 after receiving a notice of allegations from the NCAA. ESPN’s Paul Finebaum shared a few of the alleged infractions committed by the school:
Paul Finebaum @finebaum
Ole Miss responds to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations & will contest 7 of the 21 allegations. https://t.co/Z6zJhSt7PK
Ole Miss still has a meeting ahead with the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions, and the NCAA could deal a crippling blow to the Rebels?regardless of who their head coach is?should it find the school lacked institutional control.
The USC Trojans are a perfect example of how the tide can quickly turn against a once-successful program when it’s forced to operate under NCAA sanctions.