It’s a North American semifinal for Canada and the USA after their wins against New Zealand’s second team and Japan.
Although the USA had to work for their win, The US ladies will go into the semifinal, hoping to put on a better performance than they did on the opening night against Australia. Australia beat New Zealand to book their semifinal against China, taking up the role of the favorites after an unbeaten run in Auckland. The host’s top team will play Kazakhstan while the second side plays Japan.
Quarters: 3-2, 5-2, 1-1, 0-1
Jing Zhang led the way for China with three of their nine goals against Kazakhstan. Xiao Chen, China’s top scorer with 7 goals, chimed in with one as six of the Chinese players got on the score sheet.
They had the game under control by halftime, ahead 8-4, after scoring three times in the first quarter and five times in the second. Kazakhstan’s Anastassiya Yeremina was their best with three goals and Darya Roga chipped in with two. They will play New Zealand tomorrow and China take on Australia.
Quarters: 6-2, 6-2, 1-4, 3-1
The USA dominated the first half with six goals in each quarter to Japan’s four. Jamie Neushul was superb with four goals in the first quarter and one in the second, moving to second on the tournament scoring list with 11, behind Canada’s Monika Eggens who had 14. She was soon joined on 11 by the highly impressive Stephanie Haralabidis whose speed helped her score three times in the half.
The USA led 12-4 at halftime but coach Adam Krikorian thought a bit of complacency crept into their game. Japan also sorted out their attack and responded with four goals in the third quarter and went into the break having outscored the USA 4-1 and trailing 13-8. Neushul picked up her sixth goal early in the final quarter to give her 12 for the tournament level with Japan’s Yumi Arima who scored three in the match.
Adam Krikorian, the USA coach, commented:
“I’m disappointed with our effort in the third quarter but I’m also impressed by Japan, with their effort, their speed and their movement. I’ve enjoyed watching them improve in recent years and I look forward to watching them in the years to come.”
Quarters: 5-0, 4-1, 5-2, 4-1
Canada confirmed they’d play the USA in the semifinals with a dominating win against New Zealand’s young second team. The match was over as a contest by halftime with Canada leading 9-1 at the break, with sharpshooter Monika Eggens again doing the damage. She came into the match at the competition’s leading goal scorer and solidified that spot with five more goals to give her 19 for the tournament, equal with Australia’s Joe Kayes.
Kelly McKee rattled home three more goals for Canada as nine got on the sheet. New Zealand struggled to get inside the Canadian defense but managed four goals from outside. They have a tough match tomorrow against Kazakhstan who lost 9-6 to China in their quarterfinal.
Canada coach David Paradelo said:
“It’s a tough game to play. It’s a quarterfinal but we knew the outcome so it’s tough to get into the game. But we said we would go all out from the get-go and we did. We tried a few things for the next two games but all games are a preparation because they are systems in which we are always progressing. On playing the USA in the semifinal: It’s a big rivalry we’ve had a lot of it over the years. They’re top in the world so we will go into the game all out.”
Quarters: 4-1, 4-1, 4-0, 3-2
Australia started strong with four goals in the first quarter to New Zealand’s one. But the Kiwis fought back well in the second period in the pool, if not on the scoreboard. They were again out-scored 4-1, but had two superb chances for impressive youngsters Morgan McDowall and Bernie Doyle, both of which narrowly missed.
New Zealand lost McDowall to a red card in the third minute of the third quarter as Australia continued to tally the goals, four again in the quarter to lead 12-2 at the break. New Zealand played better in the final quarter, keeping Australia to three and scoring twice themselves to Emma Houghton and Grace Tobin. The Kiwis will take on Kazakhstan tomorrow while Australia will take on China.
Australia coach, Athanasios Kechagias, said:
“We have two goals at the this tournament. One is to qualify for the World League super final, the other is to build a team for the Olympics, so we have to be better day by day and we are doing that. So that makes me happy.”
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