STORRS, Conn. – When the USA Field Hockey team needed captain Melissa Gonzalez the most, the former UConn standout delivered – earning the Americans a trip to the World League 3 finals after a 1-0 shootout win against England on Thursday afternoon in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Ranked sixth in the FIH Hero World Ranking, Team USA defeated second-ranked England to advance to the championship game on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. (ET). The U.S. will face seven-seeded Germany on WatchESPN/ESPN3.
Team USA was tied with England, 1-1, at the end of regulation on Thursday, forcing a shootout and giving Gonzalez the opportunity to be the hero.
Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) made her first shootout goal, but all other U.S. attempts were swiped away by English goalkeeper Maddie Hinch. Tied 1-1 after the first five rounds of the shootout, sudden death followed and Gonzalez buried her first attempt to secure the win.
The U.S. had already clinched its spot in the FIH World League Final and 2018 Hockey World Cup with its 1-0 win over No. 11 Japan in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. However, it will have a chance to win the gold on Sunday after Gonzalez’s clutch performance.
One of just two former Huskies to make multiple Olympic appearances, Gonzalez has been a major piece of the USA Field Hockey team since joining the program in 2011.
A 2011 UConn graduate, Gonzalez is a three-time NFHCA All-American – achieving First Team status in her junior and senior seasons. She appeared in both the 2012 (London) and 2016 (Rio) Summer Olympics.
Roisin Upton, a 2016 UConn graduate, is competing with Ireland in World League 3. The Green Army went 1-2-1 in its four matches and will play India on Sunday at 5:15 a.m. (ET) in the 7th/8th place game.