Johannesburg – The South African women's hockey team booked their spot in the World League semi-finals in Europe in June.
The team bagged a 7-0 round two win against Azerbaijan at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday.
World record holder Pietie Coetzee netted a hat-trick which took her tally to 256 goals in 257 Test matches.
Azerbaijan started well, carving out three excellent opportunities to Yuliya Muradi, Lyubov Druzhinina and Farida Mammadova, the latter’s effort expertly smothered by outstanding SA keeper Sanani Mangisa who timed coming off her goalline to perfection to narrow the angle.
Number two keeper, Phume Mbande, made her debut appearance for SA when she came on as replacement for Mangisa in the second half.
SA opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Bright slid a pinpoint pass to her Western Province team-mate Jade Mayne and the striker deflected high into the net.
Five minutes later, Bright struck SA’s second penalty corner for an onrushing Chamberlain to tip in at the right-hand post (2-0).
KZN Coastal Raiders star Kelly Madsen came close soon after as SA took a firm grip, with a number of other opportunities coming their way, while Northern Blues defender Nicolene Terblanche showed admirable presence to dispossess an Azerbaijani attacker about to let rip in the girls in green and gold’s defensive goal-zone.
In the 30th minute Coetzee smashed SA’s fourth PC into the backboard.
In the last minutes of the opening half the Azerbaijanis won two PCs of which SA captain Marsha Marescia saved the first on the goalline with the second stopped by Mangisa.
Minutes after the changeover, the highly promising young SA forward Lilian du Plessis of Tuks and Northern Blues won SA’s sixth PC and Coetzee flashed a trademark drag-flick into a ballooning net (4-0). A minute later Coetzee’s far-post pass from SA’s eighth PC saw a carbon copy second goal for Chamberlain.
From two penalty corners near the end Bright got her second and Coetzee her hat-trick.
SA play their last World League round two match against Austria tomorrow. – Sapa