22 June 2011
South African striker Pietie Coetzee broke the women’s hockey world record of 220 test match goals with a stunning first half hat-trick and four goals in total in a 5-5 draw between South Africa and the USA at the Champions Challenge tournament in Dublin on Tuesday.
Coetzee had been threatening the 20-year-old world record of Russia’s Natalya Krasnikova for some time, but she made sure it didn’t become a protracted goal watch with a stunning display against the Americans.
Coetzee became South Africa’s youngest ever full international player back in 1995 at the age of 16. Had she not halted her international career for a number of years to concentrate on her career, she would have long ago become the leading goal scorer of all time.
She has long been one of the leading exponents of the drag flick at penalty corner time, and that skill and power was again on display on Tuesday as she struck twice from the set piece in the first half against the Americans.
Those two goals were followed by a sizzling action goal 12 minutes before the break, which took Coetzee to the record.
The Bloemfontein-born Johannesburg resident added a further goal after the changeover to level the game for South Africa with only three minutes remaining. It took her record to a stunning 222 goals in 224 tests.
The South African team celebrated Coetzee’s achievement by donning white T-shirts after the game that read: “I played with Pietie when she broke the world record.”
221 and counting
Coetzee was given a black T-shirt. It read: “I am Pietie and I broke the world record … 221 and counting”.
South Africa got what they needed from the game against the Americans, the one point they needed to top Pool A. Coming on the back of a scintillating 5-1 thrashing of tournament favourites Japan, it was, however, an unconvincing performance that will be of concern to head coach Giles Bonnet as the tournament goes into the knockout phase.
Wednesday is a rest day before the teams go into Thursday’s quarter-finals.
South Africa will take on Spain in the quarterfinals. In the other games, India face Japan, Scotlands play Azerbaijan and hosts Ireland take on the USA.
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