A bronze medal won by Kate Gillis and a berth in the championship men’s basketball game were highlights for athletes with a tie to Kingston Friday at the XVII Pan American Games in Toronto.
Gillis, a Regiopolis Notre Dame grad, was with the Canadian women’s field hockey team that defeated Chile 1-0 in the bronze-medal match on the St. George Field at the University of Toronto. A goal by Brienne Stairs in the game’s 51st minute stood up after Canadian goalkeeper Kaitlyn Williams denied three Chilean penalty corners in the final five minutes of the game.
The medal for Gillis was the 10th at these Games for athletes with a Kingston connection, following five by Kingston-bred rowers—two gold by Will Crothers, a gold and a silver by Rob Gibson and a gold by Nicolas Pratt—a silver in sailing by Queen’s University grad Terry McLaughlin, and gold by rugby players Brittany Benn of Napanee, and ex-Queen’s players Matt Mullins and Nadia Popov.
The third-place finish matched the best finish in women’s field hockey in the Pan Am Games for Canada, which also won the bronze medal in 1999 at Winnipeg.
The U.S., which gained its berth in the final by beating Canada in the semifinals, defeated Argentina 2-1 for the gold medal.
On the basketball court at the Ryerson Athletic Centre, Ernestown Secondary School grad Aaron Doornekamp scored four points in 26 minutes of playing time as Canada defeated the U.S. 111-108 in overtime. Doornekamp, who also played for Canada at the 2007 Pan American Games, also had five rebounds—two of them off the offensive glass in overtime—and an assist, but three turnovers.
The Canadians, who have assured themselves of at least a silver medal, will play Brazil Saturday at 4:30 p.m. for the gold. Canada has never finished better than fourth at these games (1983, Caracas); the Canadian team was seventh in 2007 and sixth in 2011.
In Friday’s semifinal, Canada outscored the favoured Americans 23-17 in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime tied 97-97. The Canadians prevailed with a 14-11 extra period.
It’s been a remarkable run for Canada, 4-0 in this tournament. The Canadians came into the Games ranked 25th in the world, ahead of only Venezuela, which was ranked 27th. Among the other competing teams, the U.S. was ranked No. 1, Argentina third, Brazil ninth, Puerto Rico 15th, Mexico 19th and the Dominican Republic 20th.
Brazil won Friday’s other semifinal, 68-62 over the Dominican Republic.
Before a crowd of 4,950 at the Exhibition Centre at the CNE, Canada dropped a men’s volleyball semifinal, 3-1 to Argentina, and will now play for the bronze medal Sunday morning, against the loser of Friday’s late semifinal match between Brazil and Puerto Rico.
Adam Simac, the former Queen’s Golden Gael, had one kill in the match, won by Argentina 28-26, 20-25, 25-21, 25-23. It was Canada’s first loss in four matches at the Games.
The last medal won by Canada in men’s volleyball was bronze, in 1999.
The other athlete competing Friday with a Kingston connection, Cutting Edge Fencing club member Leonora Mackinnon, helped Canada to a fifth-place finish in women’s team epee. She won all three of her matches in the fifth-place contest as Canada defeated the Dominican Republic 45-37.
Canada began the day by dropping a 45-26 quarter-final decision to Cuba. Then followed a 45-39 win over Colombia, a match where Mackinnon won two of her three bouts.
(In team epee, each of a country’s three fencers faces each of the opponent’s three competitors).
The U.S. defeated Venezuela 29-22 in the gold-medal match.