Two magnificent goals by Investec South African women’s hockey team legend Pietie Coetzee took the girls in green and gold to a 2-1 win over Australia’s world number six Hockeyroos after the score was 2-0 at half-time in the second semi-final of the Investec Challenge at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town late Saturday afternoon.
World number 11 SA will play world number one and 2012 London Olympic Games gold medallists The Netherlands in Sunday’s 2pm final, while the third/fourth place clash will be between Australia and England at 11.30 am.
The Netherlands beat a determined England 3-0 after the score was 0-0 at half-time, the goals going to Maartje Paumen penalty corners in the 56th and 69th minutes with the outstanding Ellen Hoog netting a PC rebound in the 65th.
Coetzee took her world record tally to 262 goals in 262 Test matches with strikes in the 12th and 35th minutes, while Casey Eastham pulled one back in the 70th and last minute of a match that saw end-to-end action packed with superb saves and near-misses.
SA forward Jade Mayne scored in the second half but the goal was disallowed.
In the 12th minute, on-song SA co-captain Marsha Marescia slipped a perfect through-ball to Coetzee, who layed off to Lilian du Plessis. The return pass saw Coetzee’s slap-shot nearly burst the net (1-0).
With seconds to half-time the 34-year-old Coetzee nailed her 262nd goal in her 262nd Test match with a well-disguised penalty corner drag-flick that eluded excellent Aussie keeper Ashlee Wells and her defence team.
SA keeper Sanani Mangisa continued her astonishing form with another commanding performance.
World number 11 South Africa and world number six Australia were evenly matched but the difference was superb saves by the SA defence, with co-captain Lenise Marais – in her 200th Test match – Marcelle Keet and Nicolene Terblanche prominent. And, of course, South Africa’s brilliantly-taken goals at the other end.
Coetzee played a very deep role and her positioning behind the frontrunners – Du Plessis, Bernie Coston, Dirkie Chamberlain, Mayne and Sulette Damons – paid handsome dividends.
However, the girls in green and gold were without double Olympian Shelley Russell, who was unable to play.
Investec Challenge Fixtures and Results: Mon, 4 Feb 6pm: The Netherlands 2-2 Australia Mon, 4 Feb 8pm: South Africa 4-1 England Tues, 5 Feb 6pm: The Netherlands 4-1 England Tues, 5 Feb 8pm: South Africa 1-1 Australia Wed, 6 February: Rest Day Thurs, 7 Feb 6pm: England 3-1 Australia Thurs, 7 Feb 8pm: South Africa 3-1 the Netherlands Fri, 8 February: Rest Day Sat, 9 Feb 2:30pm: The Netherlands 3-0 England Sat, 9 Feb 5pm: South Africa 2-1 Australia Sun, 10 Feb 11:30am: Australia v England Sun, 10 Feb 2pm: South Africa v the Netherlands Investec SA Squad: Sanani Mangisa Lisa Deetlefs Pietie Coetzee Marsha Marescia (co-captain) Bernie Coston Shelley Russell Jade Mayne Quanita Bobbs Tarryn Bright Marcelle Keet Lilian du Plessis Phume Mbande Dirkie Chamberlain Nicolene Terblanche Lenise Marais (co-captain) Kelly Madsen Sulette Damons Celia Evans