The Black Sticks Women have romped to a 4-0 win against Korea tonight in the semi-final of the Hawke’s Bay Cup in Hastings. Earlier in the day, USA defeated India and Argentina beat Japan to set-up all Pan-American 5th place match.
It was a commanding performance from the Black Sticks and coach Mark Hager says he hopes it can be repeated in tomorrow’s final against Australia who overcame China in other semi final. “I think it’s the best we have played since the London Olympics as a collective unit for the four quarters. From Georgia Barnett in goal right through to the strikers, it was a good effort from all the girls,” said Hager.
Full Match Video of Black Sticks vs Japan: Semi Final Match: Hawke’s Bay Cup
Olivia Merry, Gemma Flynn and Petrea Webster were the goal scorers for the Black Sticks, but it was truly a team effort with some great defence that kept Korea scoreless. “It was good to see that our strikers were so clinical in front of goal and put their chances away. I think the energy was there tonight and that helped us up front.”
It was a dream start for the Black Sticks getting two goals on the scoreboard by the 12th minute, with Merry and then Flynn scoring in swift succession. After a period of sustained pressure, New Zealand were rewarded when Flynn passed to Merry who was perfectly positioned on the post to tap it in. A minute later, Flynn was in a similar position in front of the goal receiving a terrific cross from recent recruit Kirsten Pearce who knocked it over the line.
After the half time break, the Black Sticks were awarded their fourth penalty corner of the game and North Harbour’s Petrea Webster stretched her team’s lead to 3-0 thanks to a successful variation.
The fourth goal came in the 50th minute, and it was textbook hockey from the Black Sticks. Anita Punt turned the ball over in Korea’s half, ran the ball into the circle, passed to Flynn who swiftly crossed it to Webster waiting on the line.
Earlier in the day, USA beat India 3-0 with two goals from Katie O’Donnell and one from Kathleen Sharkey. The Americans will now face Argentina in the 5th/6th play-off tomorrow after narrowly winning 3-2 against Japan. India will play Japan tomorrow to decide the 7th/8th position.