T&T goalkeeper Arresia Sandy made the crucial save while Brianna Govia scored on her attempt as T&T senior women’s hockey team battled past Paraguay 4-3 on a sudden-death penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 deadlock in their 2021 Pan American Challenge semifinal on Friday.
With the win at the Villa Maria del Triunfo Pan American Complex, Lima, Peru, T&T women earned their spot in Saturday’s final against Peru from 4 pm.
Both finalists also earned the two spots available to next year’s Women’s Pan Am Hockey Cup from January 20 to 30 which will serve as the region’s FIH World Cup qualifier.
Coming off two straight drawn results in their final two round-robin matches against a 2-2 outcome against Paraguay, the 'Calypso Stickwomen' were eager to get back to winning ways and created the first real chance of the match through a penalty-corner attempt from Shaniah De Freitas, which forced goalkeeper Yanna Lopez into a sprawling save to her right to keep the scores goalless at the end of the first 15-minutes quarter.
In the second period, T&T continued to enjoy more of the ball but lacked the final pass to create any real trouble for the South Americans while at the defensive end of the field, De Freitas, Avion Ashton And co-captain Teresa Lezama kept the opponents quiet.
Four minutes into the third period, De Freitas thought she had fired T&T ahead from a penalty corner but the play was waved off by the umpires.
However, three minutes, later after another penalty-corner set play started by co-captain Amie Olton, De Freitas finally put her team ahead by hammering home her effort through a group of three Paraguayan players and Lopez.
That lead lasted until six minutes into the final quarter when Paraguay drew level through a penalty-corner set play of their own with Maria Catebra plucking the ball out of mid-air to swat it into an open net.
Both teams then failed to find a match-winner in the remaining minutes of regulation time, before Govia and Sandy combined to secure the win for T&T.
T&T went first in the shoot-out with Savannah De Freitas, the oldest of the De Freitas scoring before Gianinna Zambrini replied for Paraguay.
Olton then had the misfortune of seeing the clock run out on her before her goal could be credited to T&T’s penalty tally while Agustina Sanchez converted to put the South Americans 2-1 ahead.
Govia then calmed the T&T players nerves by scoring her attempt before Sandy forced Ana Samudio to drag her effort wide of the mark as the scores remained level 2-2.
Zene Henry was next up for T&T and she converted her attempt with relative ease while her Paragon club-mate Sandy then denied Carolina Cacace as T&T took a 3-2 lead.
Brittney Hing then wasted a chance to clinch the win for the Calypso Stickwomen after she failed to score her attempt while Ivanna Romero then kept Paraguay alive by scoring to level the match at 3-3.
It was now done to sudden-death attempts where Govia again showed her class and composure in scoring past Lopez, before Sandy denied Cacace for the second time in as many attempts to seal the win and spark of wild celebrations among her team-mates.
Led by coach Anthony “Bumper” Marcano, T&T women will have little time to rest though as they will return to the same venue on Saturday to face Peru in the final.
When both teams met on the opening day of competition in round-robin play, T&T won 1-0 on a goal from Govia with the last play of the match.
Peru won their semifinal 2-0 over Brazil with a goal each from Ana Moccagatta in the tenth minute, and Marina Montes, in the 37th.
Peru 2 (Ana Moccagatta 10th, Marina Montes 37th) vs Brazil 0
Paraguay 1 (Maria Catebra 51st) vs T&T 1 ( Shaniah De Freitas 37th) – T&T won 4-3 on sudden-death penalty shoot-out
Third place: Brazil vs Paraguay, 12 noon
Final: T&T vs Peru, 4 pm.