Dragflick Newsdesk : South Africa completed their FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup today in Potchefstroom as they sizzled to 3-2 win over USA to finish in 7th place.
South Africa were desperate to give a performance to the home faithful for the first ever African hosted FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup. They started with a great intensity winning an early penalty corner, but continued with a poor execution rate at the tournament as the chance went begging.
The early pressure and possession paid dividends though as the South Africans got the games opening goal. Kayla de Waal worked the ball into the circle and Bianca Wood showed the class to create space and finish into the bottom corner.
USA almost pulled level from their opening penalty corner and were made to pay when on South Africa’s third penalty corner Jean-Leigh Du Toit produced a world class drag flick into the side netting. It was reminiscent of Pietie Coetzee-Turner, and the hosts led by 2-0. That was almost three at the end of the quarter when Edith Molikoe created the chance that was inches away from Thati Zulu turning in.
Early in the second quarter the United States gained a foothold in the game and strove forward with pressure building and Ellis was forced into a save from Hope Rose before Ashley Sessa fired the ball over the top of the goal.
The South Africans had retreated in the competition allowing pressure but on the counter won a penalty corner. The chance was not converted instead with the South Africans having to face more pressure and despite Hope Rose’s best efforts it remained 2-0 to the hosts at the break.
The third quarter saw South Africa come out swinging with renewed intensity. A penalty corner variation from Penalty Corner number 5 for the South Africans almost resulted in a goal. Hanrie Louw picked out Molikoe superbly who deflected the ball just inches wide of the post. But the goal would come for the South Africans.
A wonderful piece of work from Tamlyn Kock on the baseline was expertly deflected in by Mikkela le Roux. Her touch through the American keeper off and gave South Africa a dominant lead.
But that deficit was reduced out of nowhere when Varney drove into the South African circle and fired home hard and low. USA then had a penalty corner and a chance to reduce the lead again, but it was superbly run down by Thati Zulu, which brought an end to the third quarter.
South Africa created the best early chance of the fourth quarter when Kayla de Waal lifted it through and Mikkela le Roux powered the ball in, only to see it lodged in the goalkeepers glove. The resultant penalty corner was fairly routine for USA to defend and they used that moment to turn the pressure up on the South Africans.
They pulled a second goal back to reduce the deficit with Tamer reacting to good work from Ashley Sessa and firing it into the bottom corner under Amelie Claasen. It set up a massive final ten minutes as the hosts held on despite USA pulling their keeper and securing a 7th place finish in the tournament.