Canada vs Australia (1-4)
Exhibition Game 1
Monday May 10th, 2010
The first exhibition match of Australia’s visit began Monday night at Ryerson University’s Kerr Hall. Both the Canadian and Australian sides have had practices at the University of Toronto Varsity gym so, the longer and narrower court at Ryerson was new to both teams. The Australian’s were backing a mixture of experience in their line up from captain and star center player Melissa Eastwood to international rookies Lauren Richards, Olivia Chiu and Tegan Boucher. As well, Lisa Herbertson is a hockey veteran on the world stage having shown appearances at both the 2003 and 2007 indoor world cups. The team has toured to Malaysia and competed in the 2010 EuroNations Indoor Championships and are looking to gain even more experience by facing the Canadian squad this week.
The first women’s match started off a little late as the men were slow to get going in what resulted in a 4-2 Canadian defeat. The Australian women were quick to show their strength, speed and confidence in the opening minutes of the game as Canadian goal keeper Amanda Stone was called on early to make some great saves. The nerves and jitters faded slowly as the first half advanced and although there were few Canadian scoring opportunities some solid defence was evident. Guelph University veteran Angela Lancaster played a crucial role in the middle in picking off passes and maintaining possession. Cassandra Mendonca, Erin Houle, Jenna Adleman and Kristina DoRosario were able to gain their first taste of international experience on the court while University of Toronto Blues all-star Kri Shier showed her strength both in the backfield and on penalty corners. Australia was only able to capitalize on one free play goal in the first half coming off a break down on the left side which led to a ball being sent across the top of the circle. This allowed Australian Louise Maraun to put her team up 1-0 before the half.
The second half saw a calmer Canadian side that was able to generate some scoring chances and test the Australian keeper. Malinda Hapuarachchi and Hannah Tighe were key in this using both their speed and tenacity down the court. Despite these chances, the Canadians did conceive a number of penalty corners in which the Australians were able to capitalize on two of. The first was a well placed drag flick high on the non-stick side of Canadian goal keeper Britt Blount and the second, to the same side just above the back board. On a repeated attempt, post player Ali Lee was able to redirect the ball over the net on a flick that was going in to the top of the mesh. The Canadians, still in the learning and selection phase of their program, did compete well in the middle of the court but were lacking finish deep in the Australian end. They did manage to get on the board, however, late in the second half off a pair of short corners. Cassandra Mendonca pulled out to Emily Rix at the battery and the ball was laid off left to Ali Lee, who was able to one time the ball low towards the net. A defender made a great save on the line but the ball bounced high. On the resulting short corner, the same option was called but the ball was flicked high and another defender used her body to stop the ball, so the Canadians were awarded a stroke. Veteran defender and Ontario native Emily Rix made no mistake, putting the ball high and hard stick side. The Australian’s were able to score on a final field goal where Lauren Richards was able to take a ball off the right boards and shoot low near side before the Canadian defence could get back to apply pressure. The first exhibition game was an excellent learning experience for the entire team, including the additional squad members that were all present in the stands to watch.
Tuesday night’s exhibition game will highlight some of the same players from Monday night’s game but an additional set of players will be on the bench in order to give everyone an opportunity to taste what the world stage of indoor field hockey is like.
Starting Line-up: Emily Rix, Ali Lee, Malinda Hapuarachchi, Angela Lancaster, Hannah Tighe, Amanda Stone
Substitutions: Britt Blount, Jenna Adleman, Kri Shier, Kristina DoRosario, Cassandra Mendonca, Erin Houle