May 1, 2010
Game 5 – PINK vs NAVY (2-2)
In the highly anticipated semi-final match up, the pink and navy teams came out strong right from the opening whistle. Team pink boasted a strong backfield line-up while the Navy team seemed to find ways to dominate coming down the outside channels. Solid defense in both ends was evident since both teams were only able to earn a single penalty corner each in the first half. Goal keepers Amanda Stone (Navy) and Kaitlyn Williams (Pink) were called upon to make some key saves. The Navy team was able to grab the first goal of the match on their sole first half corner when Sam Smith hit a hard ball stick side of Williams where a loose ball was picked up and buried by Carola Bausch. Though most of the play was between the 25’s, a series of potentially dangerous attacks were generated when team pink defender Diana Roemer was able to find a speedy Kate Gillis on the left wing with high aerials. Conversely, team navy was able to create several impressive passing patterns initiated by defender Danielle Hennig up the right side. The score remained 1-0 at half.
The second half saw the pink team put more pressure on the navy backfield with some quick transitions and smart pressing, clearly laid out by coach Nick Sandhu. The tying goal came on a quick free hit taken by Anna Kozniuk outside the navy circle. With some players caught out of position, Kozniuk was able to self start and take the path directly to net where she placed a reverse stick shot low and hard stick side past goal keeper Amanda Stone. With the 2010 AK PRO Superleague Cup final on the line, both teams began pushing for the next go ahead goal. Navy was able to get on the board on some great attack by Katie Jameson who crossed the ball to a waiting Carola Bausch, who pocketed her second goal of the game. With seven minutes left in the game, team navy was working hard to maintain possession, as well as their lead. A great cross ball from the right sideline by Sam Smith looked to give Bausch her third goal of the game but, to the relief of keeper Jen Bowlsby, the ball screamed off the far post. Pink was able to pour on some aggressive pressure in the last minute of the game and Kate Gillis was able to steal the ball on the left side line and find Elise Milosevich inside the circle. Milosevich was able to tie up the series in the final seconds, despite a dispute over whether or not it was kicked in. The final whistle was blown following the tying goal but despite great efforts by both teams on the pitch, team Navy will advance to the finals and vie for the AK Pro Superleague Cup title based on overall goals for.
Game 6: RED vs BABY BLUE (0-2)
All four Super League teams have been showing increasing competitiveness over the past 3 weekends and with team Navy confirmed in the final, teams Red and Baby Blue were ready to battle for the second spot in the final. The red team came out blazing with several early chances. Midfielder Robyn Pendleton was quick to earn the first corner of the match but despite their continuous pressure, were not able to capitalize. The baby blue team exploited the midfield channels with some smart distribution from veteran defender Stephanie Jameson through to long-time team mate Stephanie Nesbitt. As expected, play resumed back and forth with both teams showing their competitive edge. Baby blue took a first half lead as Whitney Siegmann made a great diving reverse stick cross from the left side to Stephanie Nesbitt who was able to calmly collect the ball and put a reverse stick shot in the net. Baby blue had the edge 1-0 at half despite some great pressure by the red team.
Red team pressure was in part due to the recent addition of defender Laura Dowling, who was delayed coming home from England by the Iceland volcanic ash. Dowling helped create some dangerous opportunities with some well placed high aerials. Baby blue goalkeeper Bea Francisco stepped up strong to make several saves on a series of penalty corners including a hard drag flick by Dowling. One of the closest equalizer opportunities of the second half came when Robyn Pendleton made a great steal that allowed her to have a rifling back hand shot that hit the post. Baby blue, led on attack by Siegmann and Nesbitt, were able to earn themselves a penalty corner and after a strike by Stephanie Jameson, Priya Randhawa was there collect the rebound and put her team up 2-0. Giovanna Brownlee and Megan Scraper were dangerous up front for the red team and were supported by some good stick work by Shannon Elmitt. Nonetheless, the 2-0 win seals the deal for baby blue to head to the final.
Next week showcases NAVY vs BABY BLUE (Saturday 8:30-10:30am) for the final and RED vs PINK (Friday 6:00-8:00pm) for third and fourth place.