Photo Credit: Adrian Boehm
Canada’s Women’s U21 National Team packed their bags and returned home as they finished the Dublin Invitational series with a bronze medal. In this series, they faced India, Scotland, as well as the hosts, Ireland.
May 31: Canada 0 – 2 India
June 1: Canada 1 – 0 Scotland
June 3: Canada 1 – 1 Ireland
June 4: Canada 1 – 0 Scotland
Team Canada had a tough task ahead of them in match one of the tournament, going up against the eventual champions, India. Led by team captain Suman Devi Thoudam, team India is a ball controlling, fast moving team with the ability to change the pace of the game as they move up the pitch. Team Canada had a tough time getting through India’s defense, and the game ended in a 2-0 loss.
Midfielder Grace Delmotte knows how hard it is to get passed India’s tough defense, but she thought her team needed to step up on their offensive performance. Although the European style of play is more prominent in hockey today, according to Delmotte, Team India took advantage of their speed and ability to quickly get the ball down the pitch and score quick, skilled goals.
“I’d say that the European teams play a much more controlled game, they connect very well,” mentioned Delmotte. “The Indian team is very fast and they tend to try and hit long fast balls up to their forwards who have very quick hands.”
Match two gave team Canada a much better outcome, with a 1-0 win over Scotland. Standout performances from Delmotte and veteran defender Sara Goodman, along with a goal from forward Julia Ross was the game changer. The goalies for Canada shared the net in this game as Aerin Park made her tournament debut leading her team to a shut-out against Scotland. This was a big win for Canada, as they approached a very important match day three against hosts, Ireland.
A win against the hosts would ensure a spot in the gold medal game against India, but anything less would mean a third place match against Scotland. It was a well fought match, with great performances from the defense core. Despite a second half goal from forward Anna Costanzo, and some big saves from Robin Fleming, Canada was only able to come away with a 1-1 draw pitting them against Scotland for bronze.
The final match of the tournament was the bronze medal game against Scotland, who team Canada defeated in match day two. Another standout performance from goalie Robin Fleming was the difference in this game, as she was able to shut-out Scotland once again. It was a close game until the last minute, but a third-quarter penalty corner goal by Goodman ensured that they end the tournament with a 1-0 win and a bronze medal finish. Although the team was hoping to be in that gold-medal match, there are many positives to come out of this series.
“The biggest positive we got out of this tournament would probably be the experience of playing in high level matches,” said Delmotte. “It made us realize where we need to improve and what level we need to be at in order to compete in the Junior World Cup.”
Canada won the bronze medal at the 2019 4 Nations Invitational Tournament . Photos/Adrian Boehm
It was a great overall performance from goalie, Robin Fleming, who came up and big with some key saves to keep all the games close throughout the tournament. Delmotte, Goodman, and Katie Lynnes also played very good tournaments, and will look to carry this momentum into the next tournament they compete in.
“The whole team played really well together especially considering how new we all are at playing together,” said Delmotte. “Robin Fleming, our goalie, made tons of key saves and made a big impact in our wins. Sara Goodman and Katie Lynnes, our defenders, are very good players and played a key role on the team.”
Follow Field Hockey Canada’s coverage of the U21 National Teams as they progress towards Junior World Cup qualification in the coming year.