September 17, 2012, Mexico (ISN) – The Canadian Men’s and Women’s Junior National Teams have qualified for the semi-finals of the Pan American Junior Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico – and stay in the running for tickets to the Junior World Cup.
Canada’s Men finished first in their pool after a solid 3 – 1 victory over Mexico on Friday afternoon. After taking an early 1 – 0 lead off a penalty corner by Sam Jones (Vancouver, BC), Canada battled for possession the remainder of the first half. The men came out strong in the second half, dominating possession to claim a 3 – 1 win and earn the top spot in Pool B.
“The team performed well,” says Head Coach Mathias Ahrens. “They played well under pressure and did what they had to do. We are very happy to move into the semi-finals and take on step closer to our goal of qualifying for the Junior World Cup.”
The Junior Men will take on Trinidad and Tobago tomorrow morning at 10:45am, followed by a match against Chile on Wednesday at 2:45pm in Guadalajara. While Trinidad and Tobago is a new opponent, Canada is acquainted with Chile – defeating them in three matches at the 3 Nations Tournament hosted in Vancouver this July.
The Junior Women had quite a different road to the semi-finals. After a disappointing 0 – 6 loss to Argentina on Friday evening – Canada’s women came back with a solid performance in yesterday’s crucial match against Mexico. Fans were out in full-force, adding to the intensity. 17 minutes into the match, Caashia Karringten (Vancouver, BC) scored the lone goal of the competitive first half. Canada entered the second half fired up and hungry for the win. In the final 25 minutes of the match – the decision to pull their goalkeeper was rewarded as Canada staged a full-out offensive attack. Within 10 minutes, Karringten converted on three penalty corners and Jessica Buttinger (Waterloo, ON) scored a field goal to bring the score up to 5 – 0 for Canada. The huge victory secured Canada’s place in the semi-finals, surpassing Uruguay to finish second in Pool A.
“It was a great effort,” says Karringten. “We had a game plan and we followed it. We’re proud of what we accomplished today.”
When asked how it felt to score 4 goals for Canada, Karringten replied, “It’s an honour. As long as we’re winning, I’m happy… we’re all happy.”
The Canadian Women will face the first place team in Pool B, most likely Chile, on Wednesday at 12:45pm. Their opponent will be confirmed after the final matches of pool play today.
For live tournament coverage, follow @PanAmHockey on Twitter, visit the PAHF’s live blog at http://www.panamhockey.org, or watch the live video feed at www.justin.tv/codejalisco. Track Team Canada at www.fieldhockey.ca/JrPanAm. Show your support for Team Canada on Twitter @fieldhockeycan #JuniorPanAm or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/FHCanada.
Sept 18 (10:45am) Men: Canada vs Trinidad & Tobago
Sept 19 (12:45pm) Women: Canada vs 1st Pool B
Sept 19 (2:45pm) Men: Canada vs Chile