Last update: 05-Dec-2013 12:18 pm
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Stickwomen play for pride
T&T’s women’s hockey squad will be going all out to avoid the wooden spoon in the eight-team fourth Women’s Pan American Cup when it faces neighbour Guyana in a battle for seventh spot at the Mendocino Hockey Stadium, Mendoza, Argentina, from 10.30 am today. This after both teams were beaten in their fifth to eighth place semifinal at the same venue on Thursday to miss out on automatic qualification to the 2017 Pan American Cup. In the second of two fifth place semifinals, the Alanna Lewis-captained “Calypso Stickwomen” suffered a heart-breaking 3-2 penalty-strokes loss to Mexico after an entertaining 4-4. Both teams went into the contest needing a win to be certain of qualification for the next Pan American Cup as only the top six teams from the tournament were certain of automatic places while the seventh to eighth placed teams will be demoted to the 2015 Women’s Pan American Challenge.
The Mexicans, who ended bottom of their four-team round-robin pool without a point 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. The lead 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 her team-mates buckled on the pressure.
In the shootout, T&T got goals from Wynne and Kristin Thompson while Brianna Govia, captain Lewis and Brittney Hingh, with the last penalty-flick had their efforts saved by Selma De Guevara. On the other hand, Miranda and Marlet Conejo saw their attempts saved by T&T’s Aanastasia Nett but Maria Conejo, Ferananda Guadarrama and Hernandez converted for the Central Americans to take the win. Speaking after the encounter, Wynne said her teammates knew the match meant a lot to them and both teams played their hearts out, but it was just not their day as there was no easy way to success. With regards to the match going to penalties, the 27-year-old Notre Dame forward said, “We had anticipated getting the win in regulation time, but we also prepared for the penalties.” Looking ahead to the match for seventh spot against Guyana, Wynne said they would try their best to win.
Going into the match with Guyana which T&T defeated 1-0 courtesy an own goal in the round-robin group match, Lewis and company will be hoping to avoid a repeat of its 2004 last-place finish in Bridgetown, Barbados while it had 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, from 1 pm. This will also be a repeat of their Pool A meeting which the South Americans won 4-0. Today in the gold medal contest, three-time defending champions and hosts Argentina faces USA for a fourth straight year after their semifinal wins over Chile and USA, respectively, 5-0 and 4-0. Prior to the final Canada will go after a third bronze when it faces Chile. In their three previous finals meeting, the South Americans won 7-6 on penalties after a 2-2 in Hamilton, Bermuda, four years ago after they won 3-0 in Bridgetown, Barbados in 2004 and 4-1 in Jamaica, in 2001. The winner of this tournament will qualify for next year’s FIH Hockey World Cup to be held in The Hague, Netherlands.
5th to 8th semifinals:
Uruguay 6 (Lucia Lamberti 2nd, 61st, Soledad Villar 23rd, Kaisuami Dall Orso 32nd, Mercedes Coates 47th, Matilde Kliche 55th) vs Guyana 0
T&T 4 (Kristin Thompson 23rd, Blair Wynne 33rd,70th pen, Zene Henry 51st) vs Mexico 4 (Michel Hernandez 17th pen, Maria Conejo 35th, Jazel Miranda 40th, Araceli Portillo 65th) - Mexico won 3-2 on penalty-strokes.
Main Draw semifinals:
USA 4 (Katie Reinprecht 42nd, Kathleen Sharkey 48th, Shannon Taylor 59th, Rachel Dawson 67th) vs Canada 0
Argentina 5 (Agustina Albertarrio 57th, 66th, Silvina D’Elia 7th, Daniela Sruoga 47th, Luciana Aymar 64th) vs Chile 0
Seventh - Eighth: Guyana vs T&T, 10.30am
Fifth - Sixth: Uruguay vs Mexico, 1pm
Bronze: Canada vs Chile, 5.30pm
Final: Argentina vs USA, 8pm.
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