PAHF: South American sides dominate for Day 4 women’s play

July 7, 2024 – Surrey, British Columbia (Canada)

Day 4 of the women’s Junior Pan American Championships saw all three South American sides come out on top starting with Chile beating Mexico, 5-. While Argentina beat USA 3-0, the scoreline could have been much more were it not for a spectacular performance from American keeper Alyssa Klebasko. Uruguay secured their first win of the tournament beating Canada 4-1 to wrap up the day. 

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Pool Play: Chile (5) – Mexico (1)

While Chile were able to finish with a 5-1 victory over Mexico, the majority of the game was a pressure cooker situation for the South American side. Mountains of penalty corner chances and free play opportunities gone awry frustrated Chile, whose typical passionate energy seemed lacklustre on Day 4 in Surrey, Canada. Both Chile and Mexico were coming off tiring Day 3 games that saw Chile battle it out with Uruguay with a late goal sealing their victory, while Mexico endured an 11-1 loss to the USA.

It wasn’t until the 46th minute when Chile’s Jacinta Solari’s goal from close range relieved the pressure as the game remained fairly tight up until that point.

Laura Salamanca scored in the 12th minute, finished a ball out of the air that came from Isidora Caravia’s flip across the Mexican goal mouth. Despite being up, Chile looked uncomfortable with the amount of hassle Mexico was creating, largely due to the work rate of Valeriea Espinoza in the middle of the pitch. Mexico was rewarded in the second quarter after a baseline run from Itzel Garcia that forced Chilean keeper María Del Valle off her line. Chile struggled to clear the ball and Garcia snuck in to tidy up and draw the game level, 1-1. From there frustration continued to rise for Chile who had to go without Josefina Gutierrez for a five-minute suspension after a 5-meter infraction. Chile’s penalty corners looked disorganized and desperate with María Goñi missing a textbook deflection at the back post and Monserrat Obon’s sweep steered away by the boot of Mariel Pereida. Persistence paid off though, as Solari’s finish on a pass from Caravia gave Chile the go-ahead goal. That goal was the momentum breaker and the Chileans went on to add a wonderful drag flick finish from Gutierrez to make it 3-1. Mexico caved for the final minutes, allowing Victoria Arrieta and Isabel Oyaban to tally it make it 5-1. The win gives Chile a critical three points towards securing a spot in the Top 4 of pool play.

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Pool Play: USA (0) – Argentina (3)

Argentina continued their victoria streak on Day 4 with a 3-0 win over the United States but the damage could have been a lot worse if not for USA keeper Alyssa Klebasko. Klebasko calmly steered away a variety of set pieces from the Argentine penalty corner unit, while in free play she made some outstanding multi-phase saves.

The Leoncitas wasted no time setting the tempo, scoring in the second minute of play as Victoria Falasco brought down an aerial just outside the USA circle. Falasco’s first touch out of the air moved it in to space for her to fire a back-hand that would be the lone goal for over 32 minutes of play. While the USA had few chances to score, their defensive composure and work rate kept Argentina honest. The real star of the show continued to be Klebasko who did not back down from penalty corner attempts by Valentina Ferola, Pilar Pisthon and Malena Sabez. Abi Burnett and Josie Hollamon anchored a USA backline that that threw everything into blocking shots and denying any easy opportunities.

A minute inside the third quarter and Argentina were awarded a penalty stroke. Klebasko once again stood tall and denied the flick from Ferola. The Leoncitas somehow found themselves with another penalty stroke just minutes later but this time Pilar Pisthon delivered an absolute net rippler to make it 2-1 in the 34th minute.  

Argentina continued to knock, putting on dribbling showcases on route into the USA circle but the American defence continued to be stingy. Before the end of the third quarter, USA’s Lucy Adams was taken to ground after a good run giving the American a chance to show their set pieces. The sweep from Jans Croon was surely destined for a deflection but it flew under two USA sticks untouched. From there, Argentina had an overwhelming amount of penalty corner chances that Klebasko, almost casual now, turned away. It was only in the 49th minute when Sabez’s flick was saved and a waiting Brisa Ruggeri filed it away to secure the third and final goal for Argentina. USA had one more penalty corner chance in the final quarter but they were unable to beat Argentina’s first runner and the Leoncitas clung to their 3-0 victory.

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Pool Play: Uruguay (4) – Canada (1)

It was a tale of two halves as Uruguay dominated the opening two quarter en route to a 4-1 win over Canada, but the Wolfpups put on a good show for their home fans in the second half. While the opening quarter went scoreless, Uruguay wasted no time putting Canada on their heels as their speed and interchange gave the Canadian defence fits.

Moments into the second quarter Uruguay earned the first of a series of penalty corners. Elisa Civetta’s sweep hit beat Canadian keeper Robyn Goh for a 1-0 Uruguay lead. It was a sign of what to come as Canada struggled to organize their penalty corner defence. Three more second-quarter penalty corner goals plagued the Canadians. Josefina Mari’s expert deflection on another Civetta delivery double the lead, while Pilar Lemoine tapped in at the back post on an option from Civetta’s back hand for three. The dagger came in the 24th minute when Carolina Curcio deflected a Civetta sweep for a 4-0 lead.

Canada regrouped at halftime with a scoreless mentality and it was evident off the push back. A new found belief put Canada on the front foot and midfielder Rylie Novak found herself in the circle with back-to-back chances stymied by the sliding pads of Miranda Martinez. A strong second half performance from Canadian Nicole Poulakis was the energy Canada needed. Poulakis crafted her way from the right baseline and flipped the ball over and across the Uruguay net but two Canadian forwards couldn’t connect.

Canada finally broke through on a delivery from forward Stella Goddard-Despot whose bouncing shot touched Shannon Stelling for a Canadian goal with three minutes left on the clock. Canada thought they had doubled the lead on a solo effort from Poulakis and the ball bounced towards an unguarded net. Video referral overturned the goal and Canada were left to settle with the 4-1 defeat.

With one round of games left, Argentina have good eyes on the top seed of the pool while it will be a battle for who can secure a semifinal spot but also avoid a fourth-place finish crossing over with Argentina. July 8 will be a rest day for all teams and games will pick up again on July 9 with Argentina playing Chile (10:00), Uruguay playing Mexico (14:00) and Canada hosting USA (18:00).


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