Field Hockey Canada > Canada wins World League 2 semifinal in shootout to earn spot in Olympic qualifier

The Canadian Women’s National Field Hockey team defeated Chile 5-4 in a shootout to move on to the World League 2 final and earn a spot in World League 3, a 2016 Olympic qualifier to be played in Valencia, Spain in June.

As the two Pan-American rivals were playing not only for a spot in the final but for a spot at the World League Semi-Finals in June, the game was a tight defensive affair on Saturday morning in Dublin, Ireland.

“It was pretty back and forth with most of the play being in the middle of the pitch” says Canadian goalkeeper Kaitlyn Williams, who later in the match would play hero. “Whenever we play Chile it ends up being a battle to the last minute and tonight was no exception. “

In the first half, the tackles were tough and the defensive shapes were disciplined. Through the first two quarters, neither team was able to break through offensively and the game remained scoreless at half-time.

It was much of the same throughout the second half with both teams battling hard for chances.

Late in the match, the tournament’s top goal scorer, Daniela Caram, found herself in a scoring position but Williams, who heading into Saturday’s match had only surrendered four goals in four matches, was equal to the challenge and made the save.

The game headed to a shootout where the teams traded goals in the first, second, and third rounds, before Canada’s Abigail Raye was in a must-score position on the fifth and final shot. Raye converted to match Chile’s goal and the shootout went into sudden death shots.

“Going into the shootout I was a little nervous but we have spent a lot of time practicing for a shoot out situation so I knew we had it in us,” adds Williams.

Canada shot first and chose its 2014 top goal scorer, Brienne Stairs, to lead the way.

Stairs, who already scored once in the previous shootout rounds, was able to score again to give Canada the upper hand. It was then up to Chile’s Carolina Garcia to score to extend the match, but Williams once again made a crucial save.

I just tried to be as patient as I could and stay on my feet as long as possible,” says Williams “I can’t even describe how happy I was when I realized we were going to World League 3. I think our celebration speaks for itself.”

The save not only led Canada to the semifinal win and a spot in the tournament final against Ireland on Sunday morning, but with the win Canada also moves on to the World League Semi-Finals (also known as World League 3) in June, where they will aim to finish in the top three to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The World League Round 2 final between Canada and Ireland takes place Sunday at 10am PT/1pm ET. The match will be live streamed at the following link:

Cick here for Canada’s World League 2 schedule and results.