PanAm Games 23: Canada, Chile come out on top in women’s Pool B openers

A three-goal game from Madi Thompson propelled the Canadian WolfPack 7-1 over Cuba, while the Chilean women entertained a pack stadium to drop Mexico 10-0 on Day 2 of the XIX Pan American Games in Santiago. 

WOMEN Pool B: Canada (7) – Cuba (1)

Canada opened Pool B women’s play with a deciding 7-1 victory over Cuba with  Thompson earning the hat trick and Thora Rae and Chloe Walton each notching two goals to lead the WolfPack. 

In just the third minute of play defender Anna Mollenhauer worked her way to the left baseline and a back-hand cross was fearlessly tapped in by Thompson for the game’s opener. Canada controlled most of the possession and broke through the middle through Jordyn Faiczack. Faiczack found Sam McCrory in the Mexican circle and the final pass met a low stick from  Walton for a 2-0 Canada lead. 

Canada continued to build attacking momentum generating a series of penalty corners but Cuba’s Sunaylis Nikle turned a low flick from Karli Johansen away, while Geidy Morales’ brave runs blocked two more Canadian attempts.

Canada did finish on a penalty corner in the 23rd minute as Audrey Sawers’ sweep hit was expertly deflected by Thompson high into the Cuba mesh for a 3-0 lead.  Rae got on the board after she finished a rebound from Walton’s shot that hit the face mask of keeper Yurismakis Garcia. 

Skipper Natalie Sourisseau helped open the third-quarter scoring as she patiently spun in the circle and fed the ball to a waiting Walton at the back post for goal number five. More penalty corners ensued for Canada but Garcia was able to make the saves with her back line clearing the rebounds.   

Rae put in a rebound off a shot from Faiczack to bring Canada’s lead to 6-0 at the start of the fourth quarter. Cuba did manage to muster two attacks as Yuriama Vera forced Canadian keeper Rowan Harris to make the first Canadian save of the game and then later earned Cuba a penalty corner. A short side play was saved on the line from Canada’s Kathleen Leahy and the aftermath resulted in a video review and Cuba penalty stroke, finally finished decisively by Yuraima Vera.

Thompson completed the hat trick in the final minute of play battling through a wave of Cuban sticks to flip the ball into the net for a 7-1 Canadian win. 

“These games allow us to gain some confidence and get our legs out from under us,” said the three-goal Thompson after the game. “Cuba provides us a style that we don’t see often so to be able to have some adversity and change our game plan mid-game through provides some character building as we try to stick to our style, our standard and pace of play and to put the ball away is the cherry on top.”

“I’m very excited because Canada is a team that beat us in 2019 and we lost 10-0, and today we are 7-1, which is an incredible accomplishment,” said Cuba goal scorer Vera. “We come with the expectations to grow and hopefully get a fifth place.”

WOMEN Pool B: Chile (10) – Mexico (0)

Four exceptional finishes from Manuela Urroz lifted hosts, Chile, 10-0 over Mexico in Las Diablas’ home opener. Fernanda Villagran put away three set pieces to help in the shutout victory.

Chile wasted little time putting Mexico on their heels, earning five-straight penalty corners in the opening minutes. Finally, it was Denise Rojas Losada whose sweep hit beat Jesus Castillo in the Mexico goal in the sixth minute. Chile continued to press and earn penalty corners but Castillo’s charging pads kept them at bay.

The second quarter was all  Urroz, as the striker created space for herself in the crowded Mexican circle to finish on three different plays. The prettiest of which started from Laura Muller’s long run up the left side and the ball quickly went to Maria Maldonado, whose sweep was then deflected effortlessly by Urroz. Chile enjoyed the 4-0 lead heading into half time. 

Good defensive running in the third quarter gave Mexico a quick counter-attack up the right side of the field. A great opportunity came across the Chilean goal for Dariana Cardiel but she couldn’t connect. Minutes later Chile were back at their penalty corner plays and this time  Villagran made no mistake finishing on a low flick to make it 5-0. 

Urroz made it 6-0, tallying her fourth goal, with a back post deflection after a blast, again from Maldonado, that found its way through traffic. Losada made it 7-0 on her second penalty corner finish to send the crowd erupting. Panchi Tala finished a penalty corner rebound that came off the crossbar for Chile’s eighth goal, while Villagran buried another penalty corner and a penalty stroke to bring the game to double digits at 10-0. 

Following the game, the Chilean team and fans emotionally honoured the team’s first tournament and game without their fearless former goalkeeper Claudia Schuler who passed in March 2023 with liver cancer.

PanAm Games

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