Match #24 (Final) – USA vs. Ireland: 3-1 (half-time: 2-1)
It was an entertaining gold-medal match up as underdogs Ireland made the No. 10-ranked USA team work for 70 minutes straight to earn their gold medal. Two penalty corner goals and a superb free-play goal from Player of the Match Paige Selenski gave the Americans their berth to the 2016 Champions Trophy event that will feature only six teams.
Ireland were the first to get on the board with a brilliant, mid-air deflection from Emma Smyth. The USA regrouped from a shaky start to find the back of the net twice before the half-time whistle. Paige Selenski and Caroline Nichols each notched for the USA, while Katie O’Donnell’s fifth goal of the tournament came in the second half to seal the deal. Ireland put on a strong defensive performance thanks to eventual Player of the Tournament and captain Megan Frazer and Goal Keeper of the Tournament Emma Gray. Korea’s Mi Hyun Park was awarded top goal scorer, while USA’s Emily Wold was honoured as the tournament’s Top Junior Player.
(3rd/4th South Africa v Spain 1-0 (half time 0-0)
After struggling out the gate in the Champions Challenge 1, South Africa managed to redeem themselves with a 1-0 win over Spain to capture bronze at this year’s event. The lone goal of the match came on South Africa’s third penalty corner, which needed Player of the Match Dirkie Chamberlain stepped up to make good on the conversion.
The second half was end-to-end and pure entertainment, with both teams having the chance to score. Seconds after she scored, Chamberlain almost scored a second. This is South Africa’s highest finish since they came second in 2009. For Spain a fourth place finish equals their performances in 2011 and 2009.
(5/6th) – Korea vs. Belgium: 1 – 1 (half-time: 0 – 0) (Shoot out: 2 – 1)
It needed more than 70 minutes to determine the winner for fifth place at this year’s Champions Challenge 1. Both Korea and Belgium were trying to salvage pride after being eliminated from the top bracket earlier in the tournament. Following a scoreless opening frame, Belgium’s Charlotte de Vos and Korea’s Mi Hyun Park notched a goal each for their respective sides to end regulation time 1-1.
Belgium was all too familiar with shoot outs after losing in the same manner in the quarter-finals. Certainly the players looked hesitant as Alix Gerniers, de Groof, Anouk Raes and Barbara Nelen all missed. Park scored from a cheeky lob over the Belgium goalkeeper, Aisling D’Hooghe, and Cheon Seul scored the winner. The result means Korea finish the Champions Challenge 1 in fifth place and Belgium finish sixth.
(7/8th) – Scotland vs. India: 4-3 (half-time: 0-0)
Home team Scotland finished off in style scoring four second-half goals to finish the Champions Challenge 1 with an entertaining seventh-place finish over India. Captain Linda Clements and Vikki Bunce were home nation heroes as they turned a less-than-enthusiastic opening half into a thrilling and sparkling final 35 minutes. With India countering with three goals, the seven-goal second half was much to the delight of the home crowd.
Back-and-forth scoring was inevitable between these two passionate squads but the young India team’s experience got the better of them as skipper Clement was able to seal the game-winner with two minutes left on the clock. Scotland earned their 4-3 victory to ultimately avoid the bottom ranked team.
Photograph: Duncan Gray/SHU (c)