(Photo: PLATE PICTURES)

South Africa 7, Azerbaijan 0

South Africa earned the first ticket to the Hockey World League Semi-Final through the Round 2 process after earning a 7-0 win against Azerbaijan in today’s action from Cape Town. South Africa now leads the standings with three wins in as many games. Belgium and Azerbaijan have six points each. With Belgium and Azerbaijan playing each other tomorrow, today’s win guarantees South Africa a top-two finish, good enough to book their ticket to Round 3.

South Africa’s penalty corner continued to be deadly as they scored six of today’s goals on short corner chances. The 1-0 goal came from the field from Jade Mayne, but after that, it was all about the corner as Dirkie Chamberlain tapped in a rebound on the penalty corner and Pietie Coetzee followed suit with a rifle of a shot to make it a 3-0 South African lead at the half.

Coetzee picked up in the second half right where she left off, going top shelf five minutes into the second half to make it a 4-0 affair. Chamberlain followed up with a deflection on a Coetzee short corner flick less than two minutes later to up the lead even further. The South Africans added another pair of goals in the last 20 minutes of the game, which included Coetzee completing her hat trick.

With South Africa guaranteed its berth into the Hockey World League Semi-Final, all eyes will be on tomorrow’s Belgium vs. Azerbaijan game. It will be a winner-takes-all meeting with the teams deadlocked in the standings with six points each in three games. South Africa’s game against Austria tomorrow is merely academic as both teams know their World League fate.

Note: Congratulations to Argentina’s Irene Presenqui who umpired her 50th international match today.

 

Belgium 7, Ghana 0

It was the Stephanie De Groof show today in Cape Town in the early game between Belgium and Ghana. The strong drag flicker put in an amazing four penalty corner goals in Belgium’s 7-0 victory against Ghana.

The win keeps the Belgians in the hunt for a qualification spot to the Hockey World League Semi-Finals in June. Meanwhile, Ghana goes home from the tournament with four losses in as many games.

De Groof got two of her four goals in the 15 minutes of action to give Belgium the early 2-0 lead. But the Belgians really broke things open in the last 10 minutes of the first half when they poured in another four unanswered goals to claim a hefty 6-0 lead at the break. Alix Gerniers, Erica Coppey and Helene Delmee all scored in the flurry of activity. As icing on the cake, De Groof completed the hat trick on a penalty corner goal after time expired in the half.

Ghana had no chance in the second half, but fortunately goaltender Grace Mensah was solid in net and kept things from getting ugly. She held the Belgians scoreless, despite multiple chances, until De Groof put in her fourth goal with 10 minutes left in the game. It would be the only goal that the Belgians would score in the half as they earned the second-most lopsided win of the tournament.

Belgium and Azerbaijan will play the key game of the tournament tomorrow afternoon. Both teams currently have two wins.