The Black Sticks team named to play in the women’s Samsung Hockey World Cup Qualifier in Rome later this month includes a core of 14 players from the Melbourne Commonwealth Games team.
With two of the 16 members of the Commonwealth Games team unavailable for the Qualifier, four new faces have been added to complete the 18-strong squad.
The additional players are:
Lizzie Ryan, (20). Ryan is a striker and has played 13 games for New Zealand. She was a member of the Black Sticks side which won the 2005 Champions Challenge in Virginia Beach.
Tara Drysdale, (27). Drysdale is a midfielder and played for New Zealand during the February Japan series, returning to the national frame after an injury break. She has played 80 matches for New Zealand and was a 2004 Athens Olympian.
Kate Saunders, (23). Saunders also played in the Japan series and has been selected for her versatility. She can play either on attack or in the defence and now has 11 caps.
Bridget Kight, (21). Kight, a halfback or fullback, has played four games for New Zealand. She debuted at the Indira Gandhi Tournament last October.
The two unavailable players are midfielder Michelle Hollands who has retired and defender Lizzy Igasan who is unavailable for personal reasons.
“The quality of the newly named national team reflects solid squad depth developed over the past few years by providing fringe players with the opportunity to experience International hockey and grow both as individuals and the Team as a collective group," coach Ian Rutledge said:
The top five teams from the Rome qualifier, from 25 April- 6 May will go through to the Samsung Hockey World Cup in Madrid in September/October.
Participating teams are (world rankings in brackets): Pool A – China (5), England (9), France (21), Japan (8), Scotland (17), Ukraine (15). Pool B – Azerbaijan (19), Ireland (13), Italy (20), Korea (7), New Zealand (6), USA (12).
Rutledge said that despite the lower world rankings of some of the teams there would be no easy games.
“The top 10 teams in the world are very close and the next group are also very difficult to play.”
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