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August 10, 2022 — גביע גדול לקבוצת הוקי שדה אמריקאית

I didn’t want to go too much further without acknowledging an unprecedented achievement by an American field hockey team at a world competition last month.

For it was in the 21st Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem where the United States bested Argentina 4-3 in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 tie at the end of regulation play, winning its first gold medal in the Games. It is also the first time a U.S. national team has won a world title in any field hockey competition.

The Maccabiah Games are a quadrennial multisport athletic competition for Jewish athletes. Starting in 1932, it has grown to become one of the three biggest sporting events in the world outside the Olympics, drawing roughly 10,000 participants from around the world. The Games today are organized by the International Maccabiah Committee and are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee and World Federation of Sports.

As such, field hockey has been part and parcel of the Games for decades, but the Americans, despite sending some great players to Israel to compete, have come up short of gold.

Not this time.

The United States, in the opening match of pool play, served notice on the rest of the field with a 10-0 shutout of Australia. The States were unbeaten until the final day of pool play, where they lost 5-0 to Argentina, the team’s Pan-American nemesis over the years.

The Stars and Stripes broke into the lead in the final when Dylan Breier, late of Louisville DuPont Manual (Ky.) connected in the 38th minutes. A second goal from Paige Forrester, a mechanical engineering undergrad at MIT, staked the Americans to a 2-0 lead.

The Albicelestes drew level, however, sending the game to overtime. After the two halves of overtime finished scoreless, the game went to the penalty shootout.

The game-winning effort came from Julia Freedman, an undergraduate at Yale. The overall result is a step from the Americans’ silver-medal five years ago at the last Maccabiah Games.

A hearty “Well-played!” from this corner. Or should we say, “משוחק יפה“?

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