The Canberra Labor Club Strikers have lost their opening round match of the Australian Hockey League, to the Victorian Vipers, 4-2.
The Strikers started off strong scoring two goals in the opening six minutes, all the while looking very comfortable. The first goal came off a direct corner hit by Emma Taylor, taking a deflection from the defender and slipping past the Victorian keeper.
A minute later the ACT were attacking down the left hand side, with a hit across the circle by Maria de la Paz Hernandez finding Peta Gallagher for a deflection to the far side of the goal, giving the Strikers a 2-0 lead.
The use and implementation of the new rules took some adjustment for both teams and umpires, with neither fully utilizing it to their advantage.
Everything was going the Strikers way with the number the penalty corners being awarded their way mounting, however they weren’t able to capitalize, which in the end cost them.
Victoria were awarded their first penalty corner in the 18th minute, converting straight away through a hit from Danielle Schubach, which deflected off a Striker and into the net, narrowing the deficit to one.
The Strikers had another chance with ten minutes to go, with some skilful footwork from Peta Gallagher earning a circle penetration and finding defenders a foot. A direct hit from Emma Taylor was saved and a repeat shot on the back stick earning them another penalty, but was not converted.
Three minutes later Victoria leveled the match, with a clever corner variation resulting in a goal to Kary Chau, the scores remaining at 2-all at the half time break.
In the second half the game ebbed and flowed with both teams creating goal scoring opportunities with high speed and spontaneity, however neither team were able to capitalize.
The Vipers counter attack tested the ACT’s defensive line, with Emma Taylor standing resilient on the back line and keeping the Strikers in the game.
The Strikers continued to move the ball forward, creating attacking chances, however Victoria’s swarming defense was relentless, denying the Strikers.
The game was still anyone’s for the taking and in the end it was Victoria who stepped up converting another penalty corner with 25 minutes remaining, through Erica Trhar.
Being down for the first time in the match, the Strikers responded, lifting the tempo and again threatening the Victorian goal, with the Victorian defense resisting.
The match was put beyond doubt with four minutes to go when Vipers captain Sarah O’Connor scored of a corner breakdown.
Source: Hockey Australia