The Australian Hockey League (AHL) semi-finals fixtures have been confirmed after Thursday’s quarter-finals at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre were completed.
The Queensland Scorchers qualified for the semi-finals with a win over the NT Pearls 13-0 and will play the Canberra Strikers from 12:30pm AEST, followed by the NSW Arrows against reigning champions Victoria Vipers from 2pm AEST.
Sunday’s gold medal matches will occur at 3:30pm AEST in the women’s with all medal matches on Sunday live streamed on www.epicentre.tv.
Saturday will also see classification matches played from 8:45am AEST from 10:30am AEST on both pitches.
Saturday 27 October
Women’s AHL Semi-Finals Fixtures (all times AEST)
12:30pm, Queensland Scorchers v Canberra Strikers, Pitch 1
2pm, NSW Arrows v Victoria Vipers, Pitch 1
Women’s Classification Matches (all times AEST)
8:45am, NT Pearls v SA Suns, Pitch 1
10:30am, WA Diamonds v Tas Van Demons, Pitch 2
Queensland Scorchers 13 (Kenny 15’, 43’, 49’, Greiner 22’, 22’, Wilkinson 24', 24', Kershaw 28’, 29’, 49', 49', Eleison 25’, M. Fitzpatrick 33’) NT Pearls 0
In the opening match of the AHL Finals the top seeded Queensland Scorchers defeated the NT Pearls 13-0.
Led by Hockeyroos Rosie Malone, Steph Kershaw and Jodie Kenny, the Scorchers were dominant all day, securing their spot in Saturday’s semi-final.
Queensland had all the attack early in the match but some strong saves from Elizabeth Duguid including an impressive diving deflection kept the Pearls in the match.
Homegrown Hockeyroo Malone was amongst the action early, creating several penalty corner opportunities for the Scorchers, Kenny took advantage of one in the dying seconds of the first term, nailing a powerful drag flick.
Rebecca Greiner hit the scoreboard in the 22nd minute with a field goal in congestion that found the top right corner of the net. Greiner went back and was able to slip the conversion past Duguid.
Britt Wilkinson scored just moments later, finding herself alone in the D. She too was able to go back and take advantage of her conversion opportunity.
The Pearls didn’t let up in attack, entering the D a number of times but unable to impact the scoreboard.
Layla Eleison was able to take advantage of an aerial ball close to goals, finding the ball and sending it into the back of the net. Duguid was able to stop the conversion this time with a strong dive to kill the ball.
Hockeyroo Kershaw scored with an impressive strike late in the first half and backed it up with an equally as impressive conversion, dribbling the ball past the NT Keeper and running it into the goal.
Despite several opportunities, the NT Pearls were unable to score during their PumpPlay and entered halftime trailing 8-0.
The second half started as the first ended, Queensland pushed into attack to create a penalty corner opportunity from which Madison Fitzpatrick launched a drag flick and scored her first for the match.
Kenny reminded her home crowd just how good she is with a huge drag flick goal in the 43rd minute of the match, blasting the ball past everyone in defence.
A flurry of goals in the 49th minute begun with veteran Hockeyroo Kenny drawing a penalty stroke from which she scored, launching the ball above the keepers glove. She was unable to score on the conversion.
Seconds later Kershaw took the most of a field goal opportunity, beating the defence and increasing the Scorchers lead by two with the goal and a penalty conversion.
Jacqueline Graf had an opportunity late in the piece to put the Pearls on the scoreboard, running the ball from defence and into the D, but Queensland keeper Hannah Astbury was able to prevent a score with a diving save.
South Australia Suns 0 (2) (H. Evans, Claxton) Canberra Strikers 0 (4) (Taseska, Middleton, N. Evans, E. Bone)
The Canberra Strikers have defeated the SA Suns which couldn’t be resolved in regular time and went to a penalty shootout. Goals to Holly Evans and Jane Claxton weren’t enough to keep the Suns alive with Tina Taseska, Beckie Middleton, Naomi Evans and Edwina Bone securing the victory for the Strikers.
The first half was a defensive grind for both sides involved with neither the Suns nor the Strikers allowing uncontested shots in their respective Ds.
It took until the Canberra Strikers’ Pump Play for the game to open up with both sides creating opportunities to hit the scoreboard.
Hockeyroo Edwina Bone created a chance for the Strikers to score double points, gaining possession in defence before running the ball into attack where her pass was missed.
Bone’s run was quickly answered by South Australian Emily Grist who intercepted a wayward pass in the middle of the pitch and ran into an open D however Strikers keeper Rene Hunter smothered the ball and extinguished any chance for a score.
Midway through the third term Suns player Alison Penington found herself open inside the attacking D but her shot was soundly deflected by Hunter.
Consecutive shots by the Strikers kept Ashlee Wells on her toes late in the third term, but the Hockeyroo was able to keep Canberra off the scoreboard with a series of deflections and dives.
With the game still tied nil-all at full time, the match went to penalty shootouts. Tina Taseska was the first to score slipping a goal past her opponent while South Australian Miki Spano couldn’t do the same.
Holly Evans put the Suns on the board with a fantastic shot around the body but Beckie Middleton answered for Canberra.
The next two shots were denied by the respective goal keepers leaving the score 2-1 in Canberra’s favour.
Hockeyroo Jane Claxton showed her experience, nailing her penalty shot. Naomi Evans quickly answered for the Strikers.
It all came down to the efforts of Canberra captain Eddie Bone who skilfully sent the ball through Wells’ legs to send the Strikers to Saturday’s quarter-finals against Queensland from 12:30pm (AEST).
Victoria Vipers 6 (Padget 6', 6', Ratcliffe 18', 41', 41', Brazel 20') Tassie Van Demons 0
Reigning champions Victoria have cruised into the AHL semi-finals after a 6-0 win over the Tassie Van Demons in Gold Coast on Thursday night.
The Vipers were always in control, racing to a four-goal lead within 20 minutes and booked their semi-final date.
Hayley Padget put the Vics ahead in the sixth minute, before taking her conversion.
Tasmania looked for a reply when Sarah McCambridge’s deflection from a short corner was well saved by Vics keeper Rachael Lynch.
The Vipers won a penalty stroke when a drag flick from a short corner was blocked on the line illegally and Madi Ratcliffe stepped up to make it 3-0 in the 18th minute.
Victoria won another penalty stroke two minutes later, with Lily Brazel taking the duties this time with the same result on 20 minutes.
Tassie rallied in the third with a series of chances, but the reigning champions went further ahead when Ratcliffe forced the ball home. She stepped up to take her conversion.
Victoria peppered the Tassie goal in the final quarter looking for more goals but had to settle for 6-0.
NSW Arrows 6 (Jenner 11', 28', Smith 31', 31', Stewart 34') WA Diamonds 0
The NSW Arrows have qualified for the AHL semi-finals after comfortably accounting for the WA Diamonds 6-0 in rainy conditions.
Kate Jenner opened the scoring from a drag flick from an 11th minute short corner.
Jessica Watterson almost doubled NSW’s lead in the 16th minute when she found space inside the D but was blocked by a WA defender.
WA’s Line Malan deflected Rachel Frusher's 23rd minute slider wide of the target from a penalty corner.
Jenner capped off a nice move, drifting forward, to convert from close range during NSW’s PumpPlay to make it 3-0 late in the first half.
WA keeper Aleisha Power smothered well to deny her conversion attempt.
NSW captain Emily Smith combined well with fellow Hockeyroo Grace Stewart to add another in the second minute after half-time. Smith coolly scored her conversion to make it 5-0.
Stewart got a goal of her own in the 34th minute but Power again thwarted her from the conversion.