The Canadian women lost a hard fought battle in the semi-final of the Pan American Games against the USA, ranked 7 spots higher than them in the World Rankings.
Canada started the game with a positive attitude, saving a penalty-corner in the 5th minute and opening the scoring immediately after by Brienne STAIRS. The USA replied promptly to tie the game with a penalty-corner, then play stayed balance, but very intense, until the 21st minute when a Canadian defensive break-down was immediately sanctioned by another American goal.
Canada worked hard in the last ten minutes of the period, creating many attacking chances but they could not close the gap before half-time.
Canada started again the second half strongly and earned a penalty-corner, but were unable to convert it. They were short-changed shortly after when they scored but the goal was called back, the umpire claiming that she had whistled before an American foul… The USA on the other hand capitalized efficiently on another penalty-corner to push the score to 3-1.
Canada however were certainly not down yet, and Brienne STAIRS scored her second goal of the match in the 45th minute, deflecting a penalty-corner shot by Stephanie JAMESON to cut the American lead to one small goal. An intense period followed, both teams throwing all their strength and skills in the battle. The USA regained their two-goal cushion in the 58th minute but had to fight hard against a Canadian team pushing to the very end to come back on the scoreboard.
For the fifth time in a row, the Final of the Pan American Games will be between Argentina and the USA. Canada will play for the Bronze medal against Chile on Friday at 15h00. For all the skills, positive spirit and pride that they have displayed in this competition, all the Canadian fans wish them a successful end to their Guadalajara campaign!
“A tough loss today,” says Head Coach Louis Mendonca. “But we gave it our all – the USA just had a better day. And now we need to change our focus to Chile. The goal hasn’t changed – we still have a chance of finishing on the podium and I’m confident the girls will come out fighting. It’s a very close unit, and they believe in each other.”
“The girls fought hard, and I’m really proud of the team,” says Team Captain Katie Baker. “But there’s a lot more that we can give and we’re still wanting to go home with a medal. That’s our goal and that’s what we’re going to do.”
“It was a hard fought game,” says Kate Gillis. “We scored the first goal and came out flying – the US really had to weather the storm – but unfortunately we came out with a loss. We have another game against Chile, the bronze medal game, on Friday. We’re not coming home without a medal, so they better watch out.”
CBC Video Highlights of the match (beginning at 53:00)