July 10, 2024 – Surrey, British Columbia (Canada)

Argentina will return to the women’s Junior Pan American Championship gold-medal game after a 5-0 semifinal win over Uruguay. For Chile, it was heartbreak until the dying seconds as they conceded a 1-1 tying goal to the USA in the final minute and then lost 4-3 in sudden death shootouts after a video review. The USA will return to defend their title, while Canada put up a strong 6-0 performance to beat Mexico and finish fifth overall.

RJ3_0040.JPG

Semifinal: Argentina (5) – Uruguay (0)

Argentina cruised past Uruguay 5-0 in the opening women’s semifinal match up. Valentina Ferola finished on a low penalty corner flick to make it 1-0 just three minutes in to the game. Malena Sabez smashed a ball across the circle that was redirected towards goal. Sol Martinez got a touch to deny the first shot but Ariana Arias was there to put in the rebound to make it 2-0 inside the first six minutes. 

Argentina continued to go to work as Uruguay struggled to connect any series of passes, let alone move out of their half. Pilar Pisthon made it 3-0 as after finishing a great baseline run, while Catalina Stamati tapped in another circle entry run to make it 4-0 after the opening quarter. 

Despite the four-goal start, Argentina scored only one goal in the remaining three periods. That goal came in the 19th minute when Stamati tapped in her second after a big turnover from Uruguay’s Guillermina Carassale. 

Uruguay were keen to cut the shutout, earning a penalty corner on one of their few chances in the other end but the flick from Elisa Civetta was blocked by the Argentine defence. Uruguay has a brief series of penalty corner opportunities could not generate a save out of keeper Mercedes Artola.  

Argentina continued their patience backfield passing and were easily able to slice through the Uruguay lines. Lourdes Pisthon created space to blast an open look at goal but the ball was steered away well by Miranda Martinez, in goal from Uruguay. The five goals were enough damage for Argentina who celebrated their qualification for the 2025 Junior World Cup and their return to the Pan American Championship game. For Uruguay, this still is an opportunity to come away with a medal in the bronze-medal match up on July 12. 

RJ3_0862.JPG

Semifinal: USA (1) – Chile (1) (4-3 SO)

The most entertaining women’s game of the day was semifinal action between USA and Chile. The junior Diablas came out with energy, pace and intensity and they earned a series of penalty corners to start the quarter. The USA struggled to find their rhythm and were caught on their heels, so much so that Victoria Arrieta was the beneficiary of a quick pass into the circle and the striker made no mistake redirecting a bouncing ball past Chile keeper Montserrat Araya. 

From there it was back and forth as USA had their chances in free play and more so on penalty corners. Ava Moore struggled to connect on the ball, and options through Hope Rose and Isabella Bianco could not break the rushing Chilean defence. Chile did well to manage the clock and the possession in what felt a long second half of USA pressure. With under 10 minutes to go the USA did well to earn a penalty corner but a nifty option from the atypical side was rushed and Chile were again able to clear. 

With 44 seconds on the clock, the USA did not stop believing. A penalty corner was called and Jans Croon’s sweep his send the American fans and players into fits as she rang the backboard and tied the game 1-1, feeling full benefit from pulling their keeper in the final minutes of the game. Neither team could find the next goal in regular time as the clock expired and the game was sent to shootouts. 

There was no shortage of action as multiple video referrals saw opportunities for Sofia Messen to retake and score and pull Chile ahead. Calm hands from Lucy Adams and Isabella Bianco put the USA up 3-2 before Monserrat Obon drew the teams 3-3. Into After Obon scored, Bianco had a chance to win the game but her attempt was well saved by Maria del Valle. Finally, captain Hope Rose stepped up to the line and buried a shot for the first sudden death attempt. Josefina Gutierrez could not beat Klebasko’s challenge and after a long video referral the USA were finally able to celebrate their back-to-back return to the gold medal game. The 4-3 shootout victory was heartbreak for the Chilean side who led for so much of the game.

For USA, they will meet Argentina for a rematch of the 2023 Barbados-hosted Championship but before that the Americans will celebrate their automitic qualification to the Junior World Cup.

)RJ3_9300.JPG

5th Place: Canada (5) – Mexico (0)

Canada came out hungry to end their 2024 Junior Pan American Championships campaign at home with a victory. A 5-0 win over Mexico leaves Canada finishing in fifth place, the program’s lowest finish in all editions of the event after a historic win in 2021 and a fourth-place finish in 2023 and 2016. 

Gracy Leahy was there to finish two goal-mouth scrambles, the first on the game opener after a great run from Stella Malinowski. The second came on a penalty corner that Brooke McCusker struggled to get power behind but Leahy was there to poke it past Mexican keeper Mariel Pereida. Canada had all kinds of chances in free play and were in the double digits for penalty corner opportunities. Mexico’s Itzel Garcia and Valeria Espinoza ran down multiple penalty corners until finally McCusker was able move the ball and find some space outside of Garcia to double Canada’s lead before half time.  

Mexico’s chance were few and far between with a blast from Sofia Perez being the most promising chance but Kailey Workman was up to the task in the Canadian goal. Canada struggled to get clean execution on their set pieces and relied heavily on the individual efforts of speedster Nicole Poulakis and Kenzie Girgis. Poulakis crafted her way through two Mexican defenders and ripped a reverse-stick flick into the net to secure the 4-0 lead in the 44th minute of play. 

Mexico had several attacks and penalty corner chances but a six-pass build up from the back sprung Mikayla Stelling to finish an seal the game 5-0.