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SA underwater sides notch up good wins Down Under

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The South African Under 23 and U19 underwater hockey teams started the World Championships in Hobart, Australia, with six wins and a loss on Friday.

The U23 men and women played one game each, the U19 women played three games, and SA was on the winning side in all of them. The U19 men played two matches, winning one and losing the second.

The tournament started on Friday and the finals are next Saturday. The SA U19 women, defending underwater hockey world championships (Spain, 2015), opened the day for SA with a 5-0 win over the US. Captain Calista Pake scored two goals, with Nicole Smit, Lise van Rhyn and Daniel Wentzel contributing the balance for SA.

The SA U19 men then beat Argentina 7-3, with captain Ryan van Zyl scoring two goals and Austin Elferink, Joel Hanner, Simeon Jooste, Mathew Penning and Dirk van Reenen scoring a goal each.

Next up were the U23 women against Argentina. After a tough start, they won 6-1. Captain Eleanor de Kock scored a goal and the team’s player of the match, Zandre Coetzee, scored three goals with Jordynne Elferink contributing the opening goal (making it one each for the Elferink siblings), and Thea Rothman also contributing.

The U19 women then played their second match of the day against Canada, beating them 8-0. Chrizanne Smit, Helen van Rhyn and Daniel Wentzel each scored two goals, with Nina Adams and Oliva Langston also making contributions. Van Rhyn made it the second sibling double of the day after sister Lise scored in the first match.

Next on the roster for SA were the U23 men, who won a very hard match against Argentina 3-1 after a balanced battle throughout the match. Again it was the captain, Elrich Engelbrecht  (2011 U19 gold medallist), scoring two with JP van Zyl scoring the third.

The U19 men then played Great Britain and after conceding two early goals, lost 3-1 with Khardan Ruocchio scoring the only goal for SA.

Last game of the day for the U19 women, who had played a double round robin and on some days three games, was Great Britain and the women won 3-0, making for a hard but successful day in the pool for them. Goals were scored by Nicole Smit, Helen van Rhyn and ‘Spoetnik Gonsalez’ Lise van Rhyn.

On Saturday the U23 women are in for a very hard battle against New Zealand, while the U23 men play Australia.

The U19 men play Great Britain and the U19 women play Colombia (who are always a force to be reckoned with), and also host Australia.


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