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BULLETIN: March 30, 2019 — Great Britain 3, USA 1

The U.S. field hockey team honored the PIAA Class AA state champion Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) field hockey team at halftime of this evening’s FIH Pro League fixture against defending Olympic champion Great Britain.

And the States even got a goal from the star player from that championship side, teen sensation Mackenzie Allessie.

But the ultimate result from the evening’s activities at Spooky Nook was a 3-1 loss, one which cements the US at the bottom of the nine-team Pro League, an enormous hole to dig out of if the States are to get to the semifinal round of the league. Right now, the United States is nine points out of fourth place in the standings, and the Americans’ next four matches are on the road, at Belgium, Holland, Great Britain, and Germany.

Now, the reason for needing to be in the top four in the FIH Pro League is that the four top sides go into the Olympic qualifiers for Tokyo 2020. The qualifiers are going to be seven two-legged ties featuring 14 teams that qualify through the Pro League (four) and Pro Series (six), plus the next-highest teams in FIH World Ranking (four, since Japan has qualified as host and as Asian champion).

This pool of teams do not count the five continental champions, so if the United States is able to win its third straight Pan American Games title in Lima this summer, the Americans do not have to go through a two-legged tie to get to Tokyo.

But if the States don’t qualify through that route, the American side would likely have to play against an opponent close to the lower end of the Top 10, such as India, China, or Japan in order to make the Olympic Games.

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