300th cap for Marescia; 250th goal for Coetzee
South Africa 6, Ghana 0
It was a banner day for the South African Women's Hockey team. First, team captain Marsha Marescia celebrated her 300th cap today and did so in grand style with a 6-0 win against Ghana, to open South Africa's World League experience. As icing on the cake world record goal-scorer Pietie Coetzee netted her 250th goal in the last two minutes of the game. South Africa joins Azerbaijan and Belgium at the top of the standings in the five-team event. Azerbaijan earned a 2-1 win against Austria in the early game.
South Africa wasted no time making its mark on the World League, piling in three goals in the first 10 minutes. Dirkie Chamberlain kicked things off with a field goal in the first two minutes of the game. Pietie Coetzee and Tarryn Bright followed suit with a pair penalty corner goals to give South Africa a comfortable advantage in the early going.
South Africa had two miscues on a penalty corner late in the first half, but still managed to put in the 4-0 goal when Bernie Coston picked up the stray ball in put in the last goal of the half.
Things quieted down in the second half with South Africa putting in just two additional goals. The first came from Chamberlain early in the half. Coetzee brought the crowd to its feet when she was awarded a penalty stroke in the last two minutes of regulation and easily put in her 250th career goal.
Azerbaijan 2, Austria 1
Azerbaijan earned its second win in as many outings thanks to a 2-1 win against Austria. The loss leaves Austria still looking for its first win at the Hockey World League Round 2 event in Cape Town, South Africa, while Azerbaijan remains in the hunt for one of the two qualification places to Round 3.
Early on, it looked like Azerbaijan would earn a hefty victory after Lyubov Druzhinina marched down field on the first possession and easily scored. The goal served as a wake-up call to the Austrians, especially goalkeeper Karin Stiefelmeyer, who made several acrobatic saves after the initial strike to keep Azerbaijan silent for awhile.
There was little that Stiefelmeyer could do to prevent the 2-0 goal from Farida Mammadova in the waning minutes of the first half. Mammadova had a great second effort to give Azerbaijan the 2-0 lead. It was her third goal of the tournament.
Austria continued to get stronger as the game wore on and was rewarded for their efforts 11 minutes into the second half when Rafaela Rubas netted the team’s first goal of the tournament to make it a one-goal game. But despite some solid chances on both ends, the score stayed 2-1 through the final horn and Azerbaijan picked up the three points for the win.