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Island players on Team Canada hoping to turn it around today at women's field-hockey World Cup

The Canadian women’s field hockey team, with five Island players and making its first appearance in the World Cup in 28 years, will be looking for a better outcome against South Korea today. Canada got off to a rough start Friday.

The Canadian women’s field hockey team, with five Island players and making its first appearance in the World Cup in 28 years, will be looking for a better outcome against South Korea today.

Canada got off to a rough start Friday. It was Canada Day, but that was trumped by Spain playing at home in a 4-1 victory over the Canadians to open the tournament.

Canada seemed stunned by the furious tenacity of the hosts’ start, as the Spaniards were inspired out of the gate at home and scored at four minutes in rushing to a 4-0 first-half lead.

The Canadians were much better in the second half with a penalty-corner goal by Karli Johansen, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

“It wasn’t the first half we wanted, and we obviously needed to get into it and fight the nerves,” Canadian captain Natalie Sourisseau said in a statement.

“I think we’re going to grow into this tournament and we need to start off [the next game] where we left off.”

On the Canadian national team are Maddie Secco, Kathleen Leahy, Anna Mollenhauer, Lexi De Armond, all from Victoria, and Sara Goodman of Duncan. The team is coached by two-time Olympian and Victoria Sports Hall of Fame enshrined Rob Short.

The national team has not qualified for the Olympics since 1992 in an era in which several Island stars got the national side to the 1984 Los Angeles, 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games and won two World Cup medals.

The world No. 13 national team won bronze in the 2019 Lima Pan Am Games but has received no funding from Own the Podium since 2015. It relies on donations, sponsorships and athlete fees to keep going. The goal is to end the Olympic drought and qualify for Paris 2024.

Canada will follow up the World Cup by crossing the Channel to the 2022 Commonwealth Games from July 28 to Aug. 8 in Birmingham, England.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com