Photos: Yan Huckendubler
By Ali Baggott for Field Hockey Canada
Goals on penalty corners, in free play and on a penalty stroke showed that Canada’s offensive powers were firing on all cylinders in their 5-0 win over Uruguay on Day five of the Pan American Games. Sara McManus scored two goals in a game that locked Canada in to second spot of Pool A.
The Wolfpack team wasted no time throwing their attack at Uruguay as Kate Wright’s pass into the circle earned Canada their first penalty corner on the opening play. Uruguay’s Constance Schmidt-Liermann made the save on Karli Johansen’s flick. It was a sign of what was to come as the Canadians seem to come at Uruguay in waves. Hannah Haughn’s baseline entry minutes later earned Canada a second go from the top of the circle and this time they capitalized. Johansen’s low flick was again saved but the ball didn’t rebound far and Stephanie Norlander, on her knees, one-timed the ball in to the corner for a 1-0 Canada lead.
The attack continued as Rachel Donohoe’s smash across the circle found Brienne Stairs but her diving deflection rang off the post. Anna Mollenhauer was there with an open look but her one-time sweep went wide of the Uruguay net. In the 10th minute Canada doubled their lead off the hard work of Rachel Donohoe, who pressed the Uruguay defence to cause the turnover. A give and go with Maddie Secco gave Donohoe the circle entry she needed to lifted dribble and fire an upright reverse hit off a bouncing ball to make it a 2-0 Canada lead.
Uruguay started to build their own momentum in the second quarter with strong rushes by Teresa Viana and Manuela Vilar del Valle but there was little support from behind and the Canadian defence was able to quickly collapse on them. Canada had just one penalty corner chance earned by Amanda Woodcroft. Johansen delivered the ball through the middle looking for the stick of Natalie Sourisseau but the pass was off target.
In the 27th minute Vilar del Valle one-timed her reception to move swiftly past Johansen just inside the Canadian half. The speedy forward raced 40 yards down the field and in to the Canadian circle but Kaitlyn Williams slid out and Vilar del Valle couldn’t beat her stacked pads. The Canadians clung to their 2-0 lead at half time, while Uruguay ended the half with the attacking momentum.
In the third quarter Constanza Barrandeguy earned Uruguay their first penalty corner but Agustina Taborda’s low flick was cleared away by the kicker of Williams. Back the other way Canadian defender Shanlee Johnston found herself at the top of the Uruguay circle and she found a foot but advantage was played for Hannah Haughn to blast a shot that was well saved by Schmidt-Liermannn.
In the 38th minute Canada earned another penalty corner chance. A textbook play from the top saw Sara McManus sweep hit the ball to the far post. Haughn was there to get the deflection but the ball went up and in to Viana standing at the post to give Canada a penalty stroke. McManus buried the stroke in to the bottom corner to score her third of the tournament and lift Canada 3-0. McManus added a fourth for Canada on another penalty corner in the 38th minute after her sweep hit bounced off a Uruguay defender and in to the net.
Uruguay had two penalty corners in the final quarter but Camila de Maria hit Canadian runner Sourisseau both times. Canada pushed their lead to five when Natalie Sourisseau turned on a dime and let off a forehand blast. Holly Stewart got the last touch at the far post to make it 5-0 for Canada in the 51st minute.
According to captain Kate Wright, it was nice for Canada to open up the scoring after a scoreless game against Argentina.
“We started firing on all cylinders and wanted to make sure we came out and moved the ball,” Wright said. “It showed as we were able to capitalize in the circle.”
At this point, the team is simply looking to take each game one at a time now that the tournament has moved into elimination play. Wright said, “we’re just going to try to do everything right. We want to keep moving forward, keep building, keep putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Canada had a series of rushes right until the final whistle but their hard work had already been done and the 5-0 win secures them second place in Pool B, while Uruguay finishes third. Their quarterfinal will take place on August 4 at 11:45am. Their opponent will be the loser of the Mexico vs Chile tilt scheduled for this afternoon.