The Canadian women’s field hockey team is moving on to the Pan American Games semifinal after a 2-0 win over Uruguay Monday at the Pan Am Fields in Toronto.
With the win, Canada will face its North American rival, the United States, on Wednesday evening at 4:30pm PT/7:30pm ET.
Abigail Raye and Karli Johansen both scored second half goals on penalty corners to lead Canada to the quarterfinal victory over Uruguay, which Canada recently faced and beat at the World League Semifina in Valencia, Spain.
“It’s nice to get a solid finish against them,” says North Vancouver’s Johansen, who was playing in her fifieth international match for Canada. “Same score as the last time we played them so we know what we were coming up against, we knew what it was going to be like. No surprises.”
Johansen’s goal should come as no surprise either, as the twenty-three year old netted her fourth of the tournament – and her second on the penalty corner – in the fifteith minute of play.
“We’ve actually had a lot of corners this tournament,” adds Johansen. “It’s getting easier to slow it down.”
The game began with a good chance for Uruguay, which was given an early penalty corner. Kaitlyn Williams made a glove save to keep the game scoreless. From there, Canada controlled Canada possession and played the majority of the game in the Uruguayan end.
Despite the tilted pitch, the game remained scoreless at half-time.
Eventually, both of Canada’s goals would come on penalty corners, a play on which they have proven to be very successful to this point in the tournament.
“We just put a lot time into it,” says Canadian head coach Ian Rutledge about the Canada’s success on the short corners. “We invest a lot of time and effort with both our drag flickers (Johansen and Danielle Hennig) and they’ve both produced during the tournament.
“It’s great to have a two pronged attack where it’s difficult for the first runner to pick. They’re two young girls and they’re developing really well”
Canada will hope the trend continues when it faces the United States, which is the tournament’s second ranked team and are ranked fifth in the world.
Wednesday’s semifinal match is scheduled to be played at 7:30pm ET. The winner of the Canada-U.S. match will go on to the tournament final on Friday against the winner of the Argentina-Chile game.