Pietie powers SA women to victory
The Investec South African women's hockey team beat Austria 2-0 after leading 2-0 at halftime in their final World League round two match at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town on Sunday.
World record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee took her tally to 258 goals in 258 test matches with two sizzling drag-flick penalty corners in the ninth and 15th minutes, and although SA dominated the rest of the match, further successful strikes just wouldn’t come.
But really impressive was the pace of the South African forwards, with Shelley Russell, Bernie Coston and Sulette Damons just three of the frontrunners who simply burned their markers away.
SA went through to the World League semifinals on Saturday when they beat Azerbaijan 7-0 and Sunday’s match had no bearing on that outcome.
The women in green and gold now focus their attention on the prestigious Investec Challenge, which also involves world No 1 and London 2012 Olympic Games gold medallists Holland, world No 4 England, who (as Great Britain) won the 2012 Olympic bronze medal, as well as traditional hockey giants and 2012 Champions Challenge winners Australia.
The Investec Challenge kicks off on Monday, February 4 at Hartleyvale and culminates in the medal matches on Sunday, February 10.
In the ninth minute of Sunday’s tournament finale, Coston’s supreme pace down the right won South Africa their first penalty corner and Coetzee rifled a flat Astro burner into the bottom of the backboard.
Six minutes later it was Russell’s turn to use her pace and stick/ball control at high speed to outflank her would-be tackler and set up SA’s second PC, Coetzee aiming top shelf this time to beat Austrian goalkeeper Jasmin Anderle with ease, the ball straining the back of the net.
SA continued to dominate but the gutsy Austrians weren’t about to throw in the towel and captain Corinna Zerbs must be complimented for that.
The second team to qualify for the World League semifinals were Belgium, who beat Azerbaijan 1-0 on Sunday.
Final placings: 1 South Africa; 2 Belgium; 3 Azerbaijan; 4 Austria; 5 Ghana