Pietie seals it for SA | SASCOC - SASCOC

Pietie seals it for SA

Sunday saw the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team sealing a morale-boosting five-Test Investec series against Spain, as┬á the final match ended 1-1 at Randburg.

The draw saw the hosts take the series 2-1. SA trailed 1-0 at half-time on Sunday after Spanish captain Julia Menendez’s superb goal in the 14th minute but a lightning-enforced delay with 29 minutes left was kind to the girls in green and gold as world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee scored the vital equaliser that denied the Spaniards a series-equalling victory.

SA were intent on winning the match or at least earning a draw which would give them the series 3-1 or 2-1 respectively, while Spain were all out to level the series 2-2 with the first Test drawn. The second Test went 3-2 to Spain, the third 3-1 to SA and the fourth 3-0 to SA.

Play swung to and fro from the outset, Spain still the better team in terms of keeping the ball though the phases and they made the breakthrough when Maria Tost’s thrust up the right channel set up Menendez’s blast into the net (1-0). ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿SA went in search of the equaliser from the re-start but Coetzee’s rocket shot went into the side-netting.

Then 13 minutes from half-time Jade Mayne did well to create something for Lauren Penny but it was a 30-70 chance.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿However, Spain’s dynamism down the right continued to trouble SA and centre back Kate Woods made a critical clearance. Carlota Petchame, Spain’s best player was a thorn in SA’s side wherever she popped up with the ball, her enviable close control a lesson to the scores of schoolchildren watching and Olalla Pineiro was not far behind.

With three minutes to half-time, Illse Davids’ superb reverse-stick pass set up the match’s first penalty corner but Woods’ shot was saved by keeper Isabel Barguno. SA won their second PC on the hooter but a possible equaliser was not to be.

Two minutes after the changeover the talented Olivia Pineiro made ground in close confines but her shot sizzled past the post. After six minutes, play was halted due to thunder and lightning.

Almost an hour later play resumed and the crowd erupted when Coetzee equalised (1-1). Play ebbed and flowed with both sides having opportunities, but striker Penny and captain Marsha Marescia were instrumental in SA finishing the stronger side to seal the 2-1 series victory.

Marescia picked up the Investec Player of the Series Trophy just ahead of Petchame and Woods.

SA now have a short break before the Investec Tri-Nations, which will include Belgium and Ireland, kicks off on Wednesday, continuing until 6 February ÔÇô all at Randburg.