Argentina struggled to beat a valiant Chilean team by the smallest of margin (1-0), while the USA had an easier task against Trinidad & Tobago (7-0). They will meet in the much anticipated final of the Women’s Pan American Cup in Bermuda. Could this be the year for the USA to dethrone their perennial rivals?
Semi-final – Argentina vs. Chile : 1 - 0
In a closely fought match, the South Americans rivals battled to a 1-0 score, with Argentina taking the victory and a spot to play for the gold medal on Sunday February 15th 2009.
Argentina applied the pressure from the start of the game, creating opportunities but not capitalizing on two early penalty corners. Chile's central midfielder Javiera Villagra played solid to keep her team in the game, as Argentina double teamed the Chileans on every play. Argentina Silvina D'Elia had their best chance of the first half but shot wide as they closed the half at 0-0.
Argentina resumed the match at a high pace after the interval and the breakthrough eventually came in the 56th minute from their fifth penalty corner of the game. Daniela Sruoga's outstanding flick shook the back of the Chileans net for the 1-0 lead. With the momentum in Argentina's favour, their captain Rosario Luchetti executed a magnificent deflected shot but was denied by a brilliant save from Chile's goal keeper Claudia Schuler in the 62nd minute. In the end Argentina regained their dominance in the South American region with the 1-0 score over their rivals Chile.
Semi-final – Trinidad & Tobago vs. USA : 0 - 7
The Olympians were too hot to handle as they defeated Trinidad & Tobago 7-0 in the Pan American Cup semi-final.
Team USA wasted little time. Sarah Dawson found Tiffany Snow on the penalty spot to register the first goal in the 6th minute of the game. Six minutes later, Katherine Reinprechti displayed excellent one-on-one skills for the 2-0 lead. Trinidad & Tobago eventually settled down and made the USA work hard for their opportunities. But USA outplayed the Caribbean champs in every aspect of the game and a deflected shot from captain Carrie Lingo off a set play in the 37th minute gave them a comfortable 3-0 lead.
Slick, quick passes by the USA team reaped three additional goals in the second half from Kayla Bashore, Lingo, her second, and Sarah Dawson for a final 7-0 score and the right to play Argentina for the Pan American Cup gold medal match.
Trinidad & Tobago will play Chile for 3rd and 4th place in the Pan American Cup.
Cross-over 5-8 – Canada vs. Jamaica : 1 - 0 (OT)
On a very windy day, it took a golden goal in the second half of extra time for Canada to defeat Jamaica 1-0.
Canada put on the pressured from the start of the game and created several opportunities, but Jamaica made timely tackles to consistently deny them. Although Canada enjoyed more ball possession, they gave away the ball though badly timed passes more times than expected. Canada also wasted eight penalty corners and at the end of the half, the score was 0-0.
In the second half, the game processed in the same way; Canada on the attack and Jamaica defending stoutly. Canada won a penalty stroke for an infringement during their tenth penalty corner but even then failed to capitalize as Diana Roemer miss-flicked the ball for a successful save from Jamaica custodial Fayona Mullings. A last minute surge from Canada and a spectacular save from Mullings brought regular time to an end at 0-0.
It took the 17th penalty corner in the second half of extra time for Canada to finally hit the net. During the penalty corner, a penalty stroke was awarded for a knock on and Stephanie Jamieson converted the set piece for the golden goal and a 1-0 victory. Canada booked their space for 5th and 6th play off in the tournament and a possible spot for the World Cup qualifiers.
Cross-over 5-8 – Bermuda vs. Mexico : 5 - 0
Although the host, Bermuda, put up a fight, Mexico won 5-0 and earned a spot to play for 5th & 6th in the Pan American Cup.
Bermuda made some offensive plays but Mexico were clearly the stronger team as they converted five field goals through quick passes, clever stick work and ingenious plays. Margarita Paredes Rodrigues recorded the first goal in the 11th minute, followed by a rocket from Lilia Flores Hernandez in the 24th and Ahidee Castillo Marin scored a double with a beautiful reverse stick shot in the 28th and a timely deflected shot in the 32nd for a 4-0 lead at the end of the half.
Veteran goal keeper, Fiona Doe, made brilliant saves to keep her players attentive and the score line down in the second half. But in the end, the youthful Mexicans strolled away with the win, with a final item from Michel Navarro Hernandez in the 56th minute to seal the victory 5-0.
On the final day of the tournament, host Bermuda will play Jamaica for 7th place, Canada and Mexico will fight for 5th place, Chile and Trinidad & Tobago will play for the Bronze Medal while Argentina and the USA will lock horns in the much anticipated Gold Medal match.
For more information, results, reports and pictures, check the Pan American Hockey Federation website by clicking here.