Last update: 11-Dec-2013 3:14 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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T&T misses out on Pan Am
T&T’s senior women’s hockey squad missed out on automatic qualification to the 2017 Pan American Cup when they suffered a heart-breaking 3-2 penalty-stroke loss to Mexico after a tense 4-4 draw in the second of two fifth to eighth semifinals at the Fourth Women’s Pan American Cup at the Mendocino Hockey Stadium, Mendoza, Argentina, yesterday.
Going into the match, both teams needed a win to be certain of qualification for the next Pan American Cup as only the top six teams from the eight-team tournament will earn automatic places while the seventh to eighth placed teams will be demoted to the 2015 Women’s Pan American Challenge.
The Mexicans were first to score in the 17th minute via a penalty stroke from Michel Hernandez, but within four minutes Kristin Thompson drew the “Calypso Stickwomen” level from a penalty-corner conversion.
Two minutes before the interval Blair Wynne, the most experienced player in the T&T squad with 81 caps to her name, fired her team ahead from another penalty-corner set play. However Maria Conejo equalised for the Central Americans on the stroke of half-time to set up an interesting final 35 minutes.
Five minutes after the resumption, Mexico again went in front through a Jazel Miranda field goal, which lasted all of 11 minutes before Zene Henry tied up the score at 3-3, also from field goal play.
With five minutes left in the see-saw contest, Mexico’s Areceli Portillo snatched what she felt was a late winner for her team, but on the stroke of full-time Wynne, held her nerve to slot home a penalty-stroke to even the match at 4-4 to force penalty-strokes, where he team-mates buckled on the pressure.
In the shoot-out, T&T goalkeeper Anastasia Netto saved from Miranda while Wynne scored past Selma DE Guevara to put T&T ahead 1-0 in the best-of-five flicks.
Maria Conejo then scored for Mexico while Brianna Govia had her effort save as Central Americans drew level at 1-1 from two attempts each.
The score remained that way at the end of each team’s third penalty flick as Marlet Conejo (Mexico) and T&T captain Alanna Lewis, both saw their efforts saved while Fernanda Guadarrama and Thompson scored their flicks for a 2-2 score and one attempt left for both teams.
The pressure was now on Hernandez, who scored for Mexico and with Brittney Hingh needing to score to extend the match to sudden death flicks, her effort was saved by De Guevara to hand Mexico victory and with it a spot in the 2017 Pan American Cup at T&T’s expense.
When the Glen “Fido” Francis-coached T&T takes the field tomorrow from 10.30 am against Guyana, it will be hoping to avoid a repeat of its 2004 last place finish in Bridgetown, Barbados while it has a best ever finish of fourth, in 2009 in Hamilton, Bermuda after a 2-1 loss to Chile in the bronze medal contest.
The other fifth to eighth semifinal was a much more straight forward affair as Uruguay powered past Guyana 6-0 to set up a fifth place battle with Mexico, tomorrow, while T&T faces Guyana in the battle to avoid the cellar-spot.
The two matches will be repeats of earlier Pool matches, with Uruguay beating Mexico 4-0 in Pool B and T&T edging Guyana 1-0 in Pool A.
Last night in the main draw semis, three-time defending champions and hosts Argentina met neighbours Chile while USA faced rivals Canada for a spot in tomorrow’s gold and bronze medal matches.
The winner of this tournament will qualify for next year’s FIH Hockey World Cup to be held in The Hague, Netherlands.
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