Junior women beat Canada

2013-07-31 00:00

CAPTAIN Izelle Lategan’s South Africa U21 hockey team beat Canada 6-3 in their final Pool B match at the Women’s Junior World Cup in Mönchengladbach, Germany, yesterday afternoon to book a place in tomorrow morning’s 9.30 am (SA time) quarter-final against defending champions the Netherlands.

The 2009 JWC silver medallists, Argentina, won Pool B following their 2-0 win over China. SA finished second and are also through to the top eight, while the Chinese and Canada will be playing off for positions nine to 16.

Three early SA penalty corners were not converted — one flashing over the crossbar — until Lilian du Plessis made no mistake with a fabulous drag flick into the Canadians’ goals.

The SA strikers penetrated the Canadian defence and created numerous other chances, and head coach Lindsey Wright’s charges were disappointed to go into half-time at 1-1, this after Priya Randhawa had equalised for Canada from open play.

“We dominated play for most of the match, but lost concentration to let the Canadians in the back door twice during the match,” said SA manager Charmaine Koekemoer, who is the director of sport at Voortrekker Hoërskool in Pietermaritzburg.

“The team have great fighting spirit and took the coach’s challenge at half-time, as the Canadians did not make it easy for us, packing their defensive third of the field with all 11 players at times.

“The enormity of the win for South African hockey is that at this moment we are ranked one of the top eight U21 women’s hockey nations in the world,” Koekemoer added.

After half-time, SA stepped up the pace and a brace from Nicole Walraven put daylight between the Africans and the North Americans (3-1). Then skilful SA striker Tanya Britz set up a great finish by Tiffany Jones before Canada pulled one back through Stephanie Norlander (4-2).

A penalty corner goal by South Africa’s Suléke Brand was matched quickly by Holly Stewart’s reply, for SA’s lead to remain at two goals (5-3). And as has been their custom in all three of their Pool B matches, the unbeaten SA side added another goal in the last minute, this one a Quanita Bobbs gem, for the 6-3 final score.

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