Women’s field hockey team keeps Olympic dream alive
UPDATE (Sunday, March 22, 2015)
Canada lost to Ireland 5-4 in shootout after a 1-1 draw in regulation time on Sunday in the World League 2 Final. However, having beaten Chile in their semifinal the previous day, Canada advances to World League 3 for a chance at Olympic qualifying.
A close contest between two regional rivals ended in Canada’s favour, with the women’s field hockey team beating Chile 5-4 in a World League 2 semifinal shootout to continue its aim of Olympic qualification.
The scoreless match not only went to shootout, but into sudden death at 4-4 before Brienne Stairs, the team’s top goal scorer, gave Canada the lead. Goalkeeper Kaitlyn Williams then stopped Chile’s Carolina Garcia to seal the win according to a Field Hockey Canada release.
The semifinal victory allows Canada to enter World League 3 (also known as World League Semifinals), from where it will need a top three finish to book a trip to the Olympic Games in Rio. The top two teams from this stage advanced to World League 3, the other will be the host nation, Ireland.
Canada and Ireland will meet in the final on Sunday. The two teams previously played in the round robin with Ireland winning 2-1. Comparatively, Canada is ranked 22nd in the world in the women’s game, Ireland is 14th. Chile is the 20th ranked nation in women’s field hockey – an incredibly competitive sport due to its wide international appeal.
Earlier this month the men’s field hockey team achieved the same feat and will compete for a World League 3 placement to Rio.
The Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games also serve as a Rio 2016 qualifier for the winning nation.
All photos via FIH – International Hockey Federation