Not since 2003 have the Black Sticks Women beaten the USA. However today, in 25 degree heat and after a few heavy days of training, the Black Sticks pulled through with a 2-1 win.
Scoring in the first four minutes was striker Krystal Forgesson, who swiped the ball into goal after an impressive run downfield by Anita Punt who crossed the ball over the centre for Forgesson to take goal.
In the sixth minute, the attacking flair of the US came to no end with a penalty corner save from the Black Sticks. Throughout the match a total of two penalty corners were saved in the sixth and 16th minutes from the Black Sticks Women who dug deep for the full 75.
Co-captain Emily Naylor made one of the penalty corner saves in the 31st minute; however the US still made goal, scoring off the rebound and putting them on the board just before half time.
For coach Mark Hager however, the match lacked an expected level of performance.
“Basics were very poor today and there was a lack of quality on those basic skills,” says Hager.
In the second half, Midlands striker, Cat Finlayson scored with a field goal in the eight minute after a great cross from team mate Katie Glynn.
Digging deep in the remaining minutes of the match, the Black Sticks had a penalty corner in the 32nd minute however Stacey Michelsen failed to execute the drag out and the USA cleared the ball.
Maintaining possession in the final two minutes of the game, the Black Sticks Women held form 2-1 to come away with the win.
Their second match is Wednesday 6 September at 9.00am NZ time (Tuesday 5 September at 2.00pm US time).
Half time score: 1-1 (Krystal Forgesson)Full time score: 2-1 (Cat Finalyson)Source:
Hockey New Zealand Media release