Australia defeat Japan, now they take on Canada in the Semi's

Game 6 QF, U19 Women's World Championships - Australia v Japan
Game 6 QF, U19 Women's World Championships - Australia v Japan  
Game 6 QF, U19 Women's World Championship - MVP Karri Somerville
Game 6 QF, U19 Women's World Championship - MVP Karri Somerville  

Game 6, Quarter Final - Match Report

Australia 13 defeated Japan 4

Australia went into this quarter final without Bec Lane who was serving a one game suspension for accumulated penalty points. Japan had won all their games to-date, with the exception being their crossover game against England, and had thus qualified as the highest place team from Pools B and C. Australia had finished third in Pool A.

Australia took the early lead with Theo Kwas scoring the first goal from a Sarah Smith assist and then Hayley Fuss followed with a successful free position shot. Audrey Fithall earned her first yellow of the championships and Japan took advantage of the extra player. Fortunately for Australia a succession of saves from Australian goalie Sharn Muffet and high missed shots from the Japanese kept them scoreless for the majority of the yellow penalty time. Eventually Japan got one into the net to bring it back to 2 to 1.

A Karri Somerville-caused turnover allowed Theo Kwas to run the ball from the half to increase the margin to 2. When Karri ran the field and from behind fed Theo Kwas the score was 4 to 1. There was still 10 minutes to play but that was Australia’s last score for the half. Fortunately solid defence was able to restrict the damage to one further goal to Japan before the break, but the Australian performance was far from convincing. Japan were coming harder off the circle on the centre draws and were winning the majority of the ground balls. When Australia did get the ball, they were not placing enough value on possession. With a half time score of 4 goals to 2, no one in the Australian camp felt complacent.

Australia had an early second half opportunity through a Bridget Hogan loose ball win but were unable to capitalise on her good work. A steady Japanese offence then worked the ball inside to score and the margin was just one goal. Things were looking a bit shaky. Then followed a good period for the gold team. Ellie Bishop checked a Japanese pass and on transition Ashtyn Hiron found Theo Kwas for Australia’s fifth. The game got a bit messy with a succession of turnovers from both teams corresponding with a couple of missed opportunities - an Australian missed shot and up the other end a save by second half goalie Eliza Morgan. With a quick clearance from Eliza to Bec Steer, the ball eventually found its way into the safe net of Karri Somerville who scored. A steady stream of goals followed – seven in a row – before the Japanese team were able to score again. One of the goals was to Rhi Panting – her first of the championship. Australia had turned 4-3 into 11-4 and a few hearts around the place were returning to a safer level.

In the final minutes, Steph Kelly scored a free position shot and then Bree Richards scored her second buzzer beater in a row to make the final score Australia 13 to Japan 4.

MVP of the game was Karri Somerville.

Earlier in the day Canada defeated Scotland so Australia meets Canada in the semi-final tomorrow (Thursday). Time to be confirmed. Australia will need to improve significantly on today’s performance if they are to avenge the preliminary round golden goal loss. The return of Bec Lane will be valuable. Given what we have seen in the championship thus far, and given the quality of the Australian coaching staff, there is no doubt that the Australian team will be able to build from today’s game and challenge Canada for a place in the gold medal game.

A big thank you to our team representatives for providing such fantastic match reports!