A trio of Kelowna field hockey products are wearing bronze medals after Canada’s performance at the 2013 Pan American Cup in Argentina.
Abigail Raye, Natalie Sourisseau and Dani Hennig were part of the Canadians’ 2-1 victory over Chile last week in the third/fourth place final.
All three players are graduates of KSS and former members of the Owls’ field hockey program.
Canada and Chile already met for the 3rd-4th place at the last continental competition (2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara) with the South-Americans cleanly winning the Bronze Medal (3-0).
The match started in bitter cold, in front of a good attendance waiting eagerly for the Final between Argentina and the USA later in the evening. Canada had a very early chance when a ball rolled teasingly on the goal line but Thea Culley could not dive far enough to reach it. The Canadians were dominating the proceedings and earned a series of penalty-corners; they opened their tally in the 9th minute by Thea Culley, cleanly deflecting in front of the Chilean goal-keeper the initial shot by Sara McManus.
Chile had a narrow escape a few minutes later on a powerful penalty-corner by Danielle Hennig but they progressively settled their nerves and play became balanced. Canada defended well a few penalty-corners but were surprised by a shot in a difficult position by Francisca Vidaurre in the 26th minute. Half-time was reached on a tied score (1-1) and the impression that the final result could go either way.
Both teams started second period tentatively with unforced errors on both sides. Canada took back the lead in the 38th minute after a powerful run by Kate Gillis along the back line and a perfect pass to Thea Culley, alone in the middle of the circle for her second goal of the match. This triggered a strong Chilean reaction and the Canadians were under pressure for a while, but the defense weathered the storm with poise.
Manuela Urroz had a golden opportunity for Chile with 15 minutes left in the game when she arrived alone in front of Kaitlyn Williams in the Canadian goal, but the Chilean fans were silenced when Jessica Barnett came back from nowhere to stop the ball on the line.
Canada had however some trouble generating good attacking chances, and were unsuccessful on two penalty-corners, leaving themselves exposed to a Chilean comeback. With a meagre one goal lead for Canada with ten minutes to go, Chile picked up the pace of their play and created some hot situations in the Canadian circle.
Canadian goal-keeper Kaitlyn Williams stopped a penalty-corner with a spectacular dive with three minutes to go. Chile replaced their goal-keeper with an additional field player in the final minutes of the match, but it was too little too late and Canada survived a final Chilean rush, celebrating wildly after the final whistle the first continental medal for the Canadian Team since the 2004 Pan American Cup.