The Black Sticks Women will play off for fifth place at the Hockey World League Final in Tucumán, Argentina after soundly defeating Korea 3-1. The Black Sticks are now up against China who defeated Germany by 3-1 in other 5th-8th classification match.
In their first win at the tournament, the New Zealand players were clinical in both their attacking play and defensive organisation for most of the game.
Goals from Kayla Sharland, Petrea Webster and Gemma Flynn were enough to see them through to 5th-6th place match to be played on Sunday (Full schedule & results here).
Head coach Mark Hager said he was pleased with the result and is looking forward to finishing on a positive note.
“We’re very pleased to get the win. It was good to get some early goals today and that set up a bit of a buffer,” he said.
“We made hard work of it in the second half with a few little errors and gave Korea a sniff but we defended well and now go into the 5th/6th playoff with a bit of flow and confidence.”
The Black Sticks opened with plenty of running under the morning sun, and were immediately creating chances at the attacking end.
It was the Kiwis who were first to score with captain Sharland converting a penalty stroke into the bottom left corner after Cass Reid had her legs taken out from behind while running into the circle.
North Harbour’s Webster put the Blacks Sticks up 2-0 thanks to a sprawling deflection in front of goal from a strong Olivia Merry cross.
The Black Sticks went in front 3-0 early into the second half after a well executed penalty corner saw Flynn deflect in Sharland’s crash ball from the top of the circle.
Korea lifted the intensity as time went on but the New Zealand defence was up to the task, led once again by goalkeeper Sally Rutherford who made several critical saves.
Hye Lyoung Han scored with just 11 minutes left on the clock to pull one back for Korea.