The Elite Women Underwater Hockey Team started their Underwater Hockey World Championships campaign with a victory in Quebec on Friday, and after having lost their 2nd group game on Saturday, they ended the weekend with victories to keep them in strong positions for the play offs.
The SA Elite Ladies started the defense of the world championship title with a 2-1 victory over hosts Canada.
It was the youngest 2 members of the team that opened the score with Zandre Coetzee breaking the ice and Eleanor de Kock adding the winner. This was a repeat of the 2016 Worlds these 2 youngsters also opened the scoring for SA. Both ladies come from Pretoria although Eleanor currently studies and plays in Johannesburg.
For Zandre, it was her 4th (out of 5) World Championships that she scored the opening goal for her team.
The SA Elite Ladies, who are sponsored by SpiderTech Tape, Defy and Shanahan Engineering, are the defending World Champions after winning Gold in Stellenbosch in 2016 with coach, Roger Bester.
The team lost their second against long time rivals Colombia 2-1 in a very hard fought battle. South Africa took an early lead after a penalty goal by Captain Jeanie van der Merwe, but they conceded 2 goals in the 2nd half with the last in the final minutes.
A huge effort by the SA ladies in the final minutes could not get them the equalizer they wanted. The SA coaches where not happy that the Colombian ladies got more than 20 stick and glove infringement calls against them without a team warning or players being sent to the sin bin.
Watch the game courtesy Youtube, which includes an interview with SA player, Zandre Coetzee, at 47:53.
On Sunday the team beat Great Britain 4-3 with Zandre scoring a hat trick and Eleanor scoring the 3rd, making it a good day for the youngest members of the team.
On Monday morning the team then went on to beat Spain 3-2 in a very physical match with SA Captain Jeanie van der Merwe scoring 2 penalty shots and Eleanor de Kock scoring the final goal.
The Spain Ladies are coached by South African Elize Viviers who currently stays in France. Elize is a former SA Elite player and world champion and also former coach of the SA Elite men.
On Monday afternoon, the ladies beat Argentina 10-0 in a festival of goals that saw a hat trick for Roxi Wolmsley and 2 goals for new cap, Marli Pelser.
The team is now firmly in second place behind Colombia in group A and with their last game against the Netherlands coming up on Tuesday, they look set to end there barring a major upset.