Hockeyroos go 2-0 down in Argentina series

Australia 2 Argentina 3
Goals – Arg Daniela Lucia Sruoga 26m FG, Aus Kellie White 35m FG, Aus Fiona Boyce 49m FG, Arg Maria Noel Barrionuevo 60m PC, Arg Ricio Sanchez Moccia 63m FG

The Hockeyroos have come extremely close to defeating world number one team Argentina in game two of the  four test series, but have gone down again 3-2. 

[img_assist|nid=1768|title=|desc=Jodie Schulz (right) clashes with Daniela Sruoga – Hockey Australia|link=none|align=right|width=351|height=263]After winning game one of the series last Saturday Argentina continued their good form, putting goalkeeper Toni Cronk under early pressure with a good shot on goal, however the veteran keeper proved too good and helped the Hockeyroos avoid an early deficit.

After a few minutes the Hockeyroos settled well, and it was now their turn to apply some pressure on the Argentineans’, with a brilliant pass from Kobie McGurk finding Fiona Boyce in the circle. But the shot was just wide of goal and the scored remained 0-0.

With 15 minutes of play gone the Hockeyroos were presented with another opportunity when they were awarded a penalty corner. However the powerful shot by Jodie Schulz was well saved by the Argentinean goalkeeper.

 As the half progressed the Hockeyroos looked the more likely team, with the ball spending its fair share of time near their circle. 

However they were unable to convert their good play into goals, giving Argentina a chance to gain the advantage when a quick series of passes found Daniela Lucia Sruoga alone in the circle, giving her time to steady up and deliver a great shot into the back of the net, giving them a one goal lead.

To the Hockeyroos credit they remained focused and determined and continued to do their share of attacking.  They eventually received reward for their effort when 19 year old Kellie White showed tremendous composure after receiving the ball in the circle, taking on the Argentinean defence to draw the goalkeeper from the net to give the Hockeyroos a much needed equalising goal one minute before half time.

The Hockeyroos were given an early gift in the opening stages of the second half when a cross into the circle by Casey Eastham found Fiona Boyce. Although the shot was blocked by the goalkeeper, a miss hit by Argentinean defender Victoria Zuloaga pushed the ball back into the Australian goal, giving the Hockeyroos a 2-1 lead.

With momentum on their side the Hockeyroos looked to extend their lead, but despite some good play their third goal seemed just out of reach.

Despite Australia’s desperate defence in order to maintain their lead Argentina finally received the chance they had been waiting for, taking a penalty corner with ten minutes remaining and converting their second goal to level the game.

The Hockeyroos were dealt a further blow minutes later when Argentina took the lead at the 63 minute mark.

The Hockeyroos tried valiantly in the dying minutes of the match to find an equalising goal, including a late cross to Ashleigh Nelson in the last play of the match which was just out of reach, but despite some close calls the Argentinean defence proved too strong and saw the hold onto the win.

Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens said that despite the loss he believes the Hockeyroos showed significant improvement from their previous game and some good signs for the future.

“I think it was really encouraging tonight. Up against the world’s best team and with us having such a young team and an inexperienced defence and to a certain extend an inexperienced forward line and we were able to create a number of great opportunities and I think there was some good signs for the future,” said Commens.

“I think that our girls have taken a step forward since our last game. We have been doing a lot of training and tonight I think we needed to blow out a few cobwebs and i think tonight shows that we have taken some steps forward since our tour in Argentina in February. We are very close to getting it right and tonight we were millimetres away from scoring a few more goals,” said Commens. 

The 4 Test series will continue this week when game 3 and game 4 are played in Sydney on Friday 8 April and Saturday 9 April.?