India saved their best till last at the Hawke’s Bay Cup women’s hockey tournament 2015, scoring two goals in the final quarter of the 7th & 8th playoff to beat Japan 3-2 after going down 2-0 early in the match. USA stunned their Pan-American rivals Argentina by 3-0 to finish 5th in the tournament.
7th-8th Place Match: India 3 (Sushila Pukhrambam 27, Deepika 54, Rani Rampal 57) beat Japan 2 (Mie Nakashima 9, Yukari Yamamoto 20)
5th-6th Place Match: USA 3 (Jill Witmer 20, Katie O’Donnell 26, Lauren Crandall 44) beat Argentina 0
Full Match video of India vs Japan: 7th Place Hawke’s Bay Cup 2015
The teams from Asia, India and Japan, had just one draw each to show for their 5 matches at the tournament and were desperate to avoid bottom place. Japan attacked strongly from the beginning of the first quarter and their reward came in the 9th minute when Mie Nakashima drilled home from in front of goal. They extended their lead when Yukari Yamamoto slotted home, after a variation on a penalty corner.
India bounced right back and in the 27th minute Sushila Pukhrambam’s shot took a deflection and found the goal to make the halftime score Japan 2 India 1. With just 6 minutes remaining in the match, India surged back into contention when Deepika scored from an acute angle. 3 minutes later India stunned Japan when they took the lead from a Rani Rampal field goal
India coach Roelant Oltmans was understandably pleased to finish the tournament with a win. He said “Japan was tough but today we kept playing and kept our structure and the result came. This group of girls has a strong desire to go to the Olympics next year and this match was an important step on that journey.”
Roelant Oltmans says “To score two goals in the final 6 minutes of such a tough match shows just how strong that desire was today.”
USA too hot for Argentina at Hawke’s Bay Cup hockey
Argentina struggled to subdue a rampant USA women’s hockey team in their 5th place playoff match at the Hawke’s Bay Cup tournament.
It was the first time the USA and Argentina had met at this tournament and they came into the match following semifinal wins over India and Japan respectively. Argentina applied plenty of early pressure but it was the USA that went into the halftime break in the lead. The opening goal for the US went to Jill Witmer, who swept the ball into the net from a penalty corner.
6 minutes later it was 2 nil when Katie O’Donnell was allowed to run and her shot from just inside the circle crept in at the left hand post. The scoring was completed by USA captain Lauren Crandall who found the back of the net with a sweet strike from a penalty corner late in the third quarter.
USA coach Craig Parnham was satisfied with the improvement his team has shown over the weeks play at the Hawke’s Bay Cup tournament. He said “Our off the ball work has improved as we got more matches under our belt and the players are now working hard to create chances in front of goal. This tournament has given us some terrific game time and has been great preparation for the upcoming World League matches which include the incentive of qualifying for the Rio Olympics next year.”