Defroand delighted to open account as GB goal ensures ‘proudest moment’

PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 April 2019

Emily Defroand (far left) and GB teammates line up before their FIH Pro League match against the USA (pic Patrick McDermott/Getty Images for FIH)

Emily Defroand (far left) and GB teammates line up before their FIH Pro League match against the USA (pic Patrick McDermott/Getty Images for FIH)

2019 Getty Images

Havering’s Emily Defroand admitted scoring her first international goal last weekend was one of the proudest moments of her life.

Emily Defroand with GB team-mate Anna TomanEmily Defroand with GB team-mate Anna Toman

Former Coopers pupil Defroand opened her account during Great Britain’s 3-1 win over the United States in their latest FIH Pro League fixture.

And the 24-year-old, who was winning her 39th international cap, is hoping there are more to come, saying: “Scoring my first international goal on Sunday was probably one of the proudest moments of my life.

“Ultimately I want to win hockey matches and it really doesn’t matter who scores in the team. As long as we score at least one more than the opposition we have done our jobs.

“But saying that, it really was such a special feeling to score my first international goal for Great Britain and I hope there are many more to come in the future.”

Great Britain had suffered defeats against New Zealand and Australia in their first fixtures in the new competition at the start of the year, before beating China on penalty shuffles.

But they fell behind against the Americans, as Mackenzie Allessie fired home from a penalty corner in the 22nd minute.

Lily Owsley levelled five minutes later, on her 50th GB appearance, and helped to set up Defroand for the go-ahead goal on 34 minutes.

Defroand added: “I’d actually had a few good opportunities to score in the first half and I remember thinking to myself at half time, keep getting into those positions and the goal will come – and luckily it did!

“The ball fell kindly to me after some good link up play by Lily and Hannah Martin and I just slotted the ball over the goalkeeper into the top corner to put us 2-1 ahead.”

Owsley grabbed her second goal of the game from a penalty corner on 41 minutes as GB dominated the second half, making 26 circle entries to the home side’s 16 over the course of the match.

And Defroand said the squad were delighted to achieve their target of securing victory in normal time, following their tough start to the tournament.

”We had put huge pressure on ourselves before the game to get the three against America. We saw the game as a ‘must-win’ fixture,” she added.

“We were all ecstatic to come away with just that, as well as a very solid professional team performance.

“It was absolutely paramount that we got the three points, off the back of a shootout win against China in Changzhou and three training game wins against Ireland at Bisham.

“Obviously now the 3-1 win against America, we hope to continue building on this positive momentum into a very busy period and few months ahead.”

New head coach Mark Hager was also delighted to see his side come away with the rewards, adding: “It’s good to get our first win of the FIH Pro League under our belts.

“In the first quarter it took us a while to adjust to the speed and tempo of international hockey again after a five-week break, so it was very pleased to come back after being 1-0 down.

“After half time the players established a structure to create more opportunities against a resilient USA defenec, which allowed our forwards to generate good quality circle work.

“I was pleased to see Lily score two quality goals and Emily scoring her first goal for GB. I was also happy with a solid defensive performance overall, to only concede one goal following four penalty corners.

“Now a new challenger awaits us in Argentina, going to the heat agains a strong performing team.”

Defroand made her home international debut for England against Argentina at the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre back in the summer of 2017, as well as winning her first GB cap against Las Leonas last year.

And she admits it is always a tough test going up against them, adding: “The mood in camp is very positive heading into Saturday’s game. Playing against Argentina in Argentina is one of the best experiences as an international hockey player.

“I have some great memories from when I made my GB debut out here last year. The games are very exciting and fast-paced, whilst the crowds are always incredibly passionate and loud.

“We will obviously expect a tough, competitive game as they too are in good form at the moment but again, we will put pressure on ourselves to make sure we come away from Rosario with nothing but three points.”

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