Despite playing their best game of the tournament, the Canadian Women’s National Team lost its final match of the World League Semifinals pool stage 4-2 to World No. 8 Great Britain Sunday in Valencia, Spain.
With the loss, Canada finishes in fifth in Pool A, meaning they will play for ninth place on Friday, June 19th.
“I think we came out and we really tried our hardest to come out with a win,” says Canadian captain Kate Gillis. “We knew it was going to be tough. But happy we could come out and fight for the whole game and get that last goal.”
Canada was hoping to finish on a win and give themselves a chance at sneaking in the tournament quarterfinal. And while they put together their best offensive performance of the tournament, generating several chances and scoring their first two goals of the competition, in the end it wasn’t enough to get the better of Great Britain.
The Canadians were forced to play from behind for most of the game as early in the first quarter Great Britain earned and converted on a penalty corner in the eighth minute.
It was Alex Danson getting a stick on the drag flick, deflecting it high into the top of the goal giving the Brits the 1-0 lead.
Canada responded well, spurred on by a very positive run form Tegan Stairs down the right flank.
Stairs moved the ball to Kaelan Watson who quickly got behind the British defender and managed a hard shot on goal, but it was turned away by Maddie Hinch.
In the second quarter, Canada had another opportunity to tie the game when a nice build up from Sara McManus resulted in Canada’s first penalty corner.
Karli Johansens’ flick to the left side of the goal was a good one, but a diving Hinch was able to get a blocker on it.
In the twentieth minute, Canada broke through for the first time in the tournament.
Gillis forced her way through a hard tackle and into the circle, and the ball eventually found its way to Abigail Raye on the baseline. Raye put the ball back into the fray where it was Stephanie Norlander getting a stick free to knock it in to tie the game.
The beginning of the second quarter was very positive for Canada, but the level scoreline was short lived as in the twenty-third minute Great Britain regained their lead on another penalty corner.
Canadian keeper Kaitlyn Williams was above to make the initial save on the flick, but the ball dropped right in front of her and it was picked up by Georgie Twigg who spun and put it in the goal.
The teams exchanged chances before the half, but neither was able to convert and the score remained 2-1 at half-time.
In the second half, Great Britain continued to press with Alex Danson looking for her second of the match. She had two quick chances early, one turned away by Williams, the other put wide.
Canada had a chance of their own when Maddie Secco found an open Brienne Stairs who’s shot from in close was stopped by an onrushing Hinch.
Eventually, it was Great Britain that got the next goal, again on a penalty corner. The flick hit the foot of a Canadian defener and with Williams out of position, Sophie Bray potted her first of the game.
Bray added her second in the fourth quarter as a ball snuck through an array of legs in the area and she was able easily deposit it in the goal.
With the game out of reach, Canada was able to net its second of the match with no time left on the clock as on a penalty corner, Brienne Stairs picked up the rebound off a Sara McManus hit and from her knees was able to put it by Hinch.
“This is the first time we’ve been at tournament like this, playing top ten and top twenty teams and this is the place where we want to stay,” adds Gillis. “I think we have a lot of learning to do but going into that last game we’re going to give it our all and make sure that we’re coming ninth in the tournament and as high up as we can.”
Canada will face either Urugay or South Africa in the 9th place match on Friday at 10:00am PT/1:00pm ET.