Kiwis not as classy - Marescia
Marsha Marescia (Gallo Images)
London - The South African women's hockey team captain Marsha Marescia said her team was surprised by their 7-1 defeat to world No 2, Argentina, in their pool B opener at the London Games on Sunday.
"We always knew that we were probably going to lose this game, but we thought that we would have kept the scoreline a lot lower," Marescia said.
"But it is what it is, and it's the opening game, they are No 2 in the world and we are No 12."
The South Africans could not have asked for a worse start to their campaign, as they hope to improve on their 11th-place finish at the Beijing Games four years ago.
Marescia said the team would not dwell on the defeat as they dusted themselves off in preparation for their next outing against New Zealand on Tuesday.
"We've got other games we need to focus on now, and we've got a lot of improvements that we need to make," she said.
"Our next game is going to be a completely different game because New Zealand are not as classy as Argentina.
"We've got to go back to the drawing board and re-focus."
The team conceded 11 penalty corners (PC), where the Argentines scored most of their goals, and an area that Marescia felt cost them dearly on the day.
"I think if we had just kept them out - especially in our penalty corners - then it would have been a different game," she said.
South African defender Lenise Marais said it was always going to be an uphill battle being drawn against one of the world's top teams in their first encounter.
"We are very realistic. We were playing the No 2 team in the world," she said.
"So it was hard [to face Argentina] at the beginning of the tournament."
Marais added that the team would be determined to bounce back against the Kiwis on Tuesday.
"I think we have got to rebound," she said.
"This game is done and banked, and every game is going to be [like] a final."
The South Africa's lone goal came courtesy of Dirkie Chamberlain in the 12th minute.
Chamberlain said the team would have to go back to the drawing board to identify their mistakes.
"Argentina came out and played very well," she said.
"It is disappointing, but at least we can go and look at our weaknesses and strengthen them."
"We are a very tight team and are going to take all the positives we can take from this to the next game."