PHOTO: Canada’s Brienne Stairs competes against Japan at the 2016 Hawke’s Bay Cup in New Zealand (Courtesy of: Hawke’s Bay Festival of Hockey)
Canada’s women’s field hockey team dropped a 3-0 decision to the 10th ranked Japanese women in the opening match of a four-game series Thursday in Osaka.
The Japanese team, which is headed to the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil and recently named its roster for the Games, is nearing the end of its preparation for Rio and has been active in Australia and Europe over the last several weeks.
For Canada, currently ranked 19th in the world, it was the first game action since taking part in the 2016 Hawke’s Bay Cup in New Zealand in early April.
The two teams met during pool play in New Zealand, with the Japanese coming out on top 6-2.
Thursday’s re-match saw improvement from the Canadians, who played well in passages according to head coach Ian Rutledge.
“We will be looking to extend and combine into more consistent performances as the tour progresses,” Rutledge said post-game.
Japan’s Ayaka Nishimura scored the game’s first goal in the 11th minute on a penalty corner and followed that up with goals in the second and third quarters from Hazuki Nagai and Minami Shimizu.
The two teams met again Saturday at 2:30pm in Osaka (1:30am ET on Saturday, 10:30pm PT on Friday).