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First International Goals by Future Stars

January 31, 2010 | Field Hockey Canada |

First International Goals by two future stars

January 31, 2010

By Ali Lee

Two young athletes in the women’s national team program are having a big impact on the team’s current tour of South America.  Both have score their first, of what will sure to be many, international goal for Canada this past week in Chile.

Robyn Pendleton

In only her third international match, Victoria native Robyn Pendleton lit up the field with a highlight goal that sealed the Canadian women’s field hockey team’s 2-0 win over Chile on January 28, 2010. The game marked the third match of a 4 game series and put the Canadians one game closer to tying up the series.

With an impressive junior national and university background leading into her first senior tour, Pendleton felt little pressure leading into the game commenting, “you just know what to expect at that high of a level.” Pendleton’s goal came 42 minutes into the game when the ball was sent towards the circle and tipped through by a defender. Making no mistake, Pendleton was able to smash the ball hard and low to the far corner. When asked about the importance of her goal Pendleton stated, “it gave us a bit of a security blanket. A 1-0 game means it can still go either way.”

Pendleton has found herself mostly setting up goals but is determined to improve her goal scoring abilities. “I really want to work on reverse stick shots and focus on getting my shots off quicker, more accurately and be able to execute better under pressure.”  Ultimately, Pendleton knows there is always pressure to score as a forward but she plays her best when she is relaxed. Before a match Robyn claims that she is focused but relaxed and does so with a pre-game sandwich. Robyn and the rest of her teammates will regroup over night before heading to Buenos Aires, Argentina tomorrow.

Anna Kozniuk

Only 17 years old , West Vancouver native, Anna Kozniuk was able to find the back of the net and earn her first international goal against Chile on January 29, 2010. Not only was this a highlight for her career but it was also a late goal that gave the Canadians a 2-1 lead over Chile, allowing them to tie their 4-game series. A grade 12 student at Argyle Secondary School, Kozniuk credits her older brother, sister and mother as being her inspirations at a young age. “They were always supportive of me and tried to give me the best opportunities to excel at field hockey.”

Kozniuk’s crucial goal came late in the second half off a penalty corner that was initially aimed by Diana Roemer to Robyn Pendleton. The Chilean goalie was able to bat Pendleton’s deflection away from the net but with a great individual effort, Kozniuk used her reverse stick to bat the ball into the mesh. Kozniuk exclaimed, “I was really excited but also re-focused quickly because it was important for us to still keep them away from our end to hang on to the win. After I scored, we started playing a bit more defensive and remained focused to keep the turnovers down and keep possession of the ball.”

Kozniuk was unlucky not to have had her first goal come a day sooner when a great reverse stick shot was disallowed because the ball was inches from being within the circle. Following that game Kozniuk said, “I really want to get this back tomorrow” but tried not to focus only on that during the game. “The game 4 win is a good step in the right direction for improving our team. Compared to previous tours, the chemistry seems to be a lot better both on and off the field,” Kozniuk claims and that may be just where the success lies.

With just over a year of international experience, Kozniuk has become a real impact player and is a great role model for many aspiring young athletes. Her advice is to keep focused and always have goals in mind that are reachable but still challenge you. We look forward to the many more successes that Kozniuk helps Canada achieve as they head to Buenos Aires, Argentina tomorrow.