In a month in which the Oranje Dames won their third Pro League title in four years, there was also an individual highlight for Frédérique Matla. The 26-year-old Orange striker was crowned the FIH Pro League’s all-time top scorer last week. Matla’s tally now stands at 31 goals in 41 games.
Since its launch in 2019, Matla has been one of the most feared strikers in this prestigious national competition. However, she continually had to tolerate one player: New Zealand forward leader Olivia Merry. All time top scorer black sticks was crowned top scorer with fifteen goals in the first Pro League season and has maintained a competitive lead ever since.
Until Friday, June 23. In the first game against Germany, which the Dutch won 5-0, Matla scored once. That put her level with Merry (28 goals), who had been dry in the Pro League for a while. In the ensuing mutual duel with New Zealand, Matla was once again accurate and she alone held the all-time leading goalscorer title.
In last Tuesday’s second encounter with New Zealand, Merry, 31, gave a final convulsion as he used a penalty to equalize with Matla (29 goals). Additionally, she defended her top scorer title by coolly beating a push from Matla out of goal as a line stopper on a penalty corner.
But in the end, nothing stopped Merry that night: Matla scored twice in the 7-1 and was the first player to break the 30-goal mark in the Pro League.
Scored against all teams
With his goals against New Zealand, Matla’s Pro League bingo card is full. THE black sticks were the only team the striker had yet to score against. China have conceded the most goals to the Orange striker: six, including her only hat-trick in the Pro League to date, on June 22, 2022 in Rotterdam (6-0).
That Matla he eternal leading the Pro League top scorer chart actually only makes sense. Since her debut at Orange on June 11, 2017, no one in international women’s hockey has scored more goals than her. Matla’s tally now stands at 82 international goals. Indian Gurjit Kaur follows with 76 hits, ahead of Canadian Brienne Stairs (61). The aforementioned Merry is fourth on this list with 58 goals.
By the way, Matla isn’t the only Orange international to score high in the Pro League. This season, his teammate Yibbi Jansen has also made huge progress. The SCHC criminal corner specialist was crowned best shooter of the fourth edition of this national competition with twelve goals in twelve matches. She now has 24 Pro League goals, good for third in the all-time standings.
Matla and Jansen can continue to build on their goalscoring status today. The Orange Ladies will face Belgium national coach Raoul Ehren from 2:10 p.m. in Antwerp. Next Tuesday, the second mutual game is on the menu, the last game of the Orange in this Pro League season.
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