Hockey: Black Sticks fall to Netherlands

Anita Punt in action for the Black Sticks against Netherlands.
Anita Punt in action for the Black Sticks against Netherlands.

The Black Sticks Women played their best game of the tournament but were edged 1-0 by the Netherlands in this morning's quarter-final at the World League Final in Tucuman, Argentina.

In temperatures approaching 40 degrees Celsius, it was Lidewij Welten's lone second half goal which sealed the result for the Olympic champions.

The Black Sticks played strongly on both sides of the ball and created several opportunities in the second half from penalty corners, while Sally Rutherford was again outstanding at the other end in goal for the Kiwis.

Despite a frenetic final 10 minutes the Black Sticks couldn't find an equalising goal. Pippa Hayward's cracking strike from the top of the circle was the best of the chances, with the Dutch goalkeeper just getting down to her right post to deflect the shot.

New Zealand now drop into the classification side of the draw to determine placings 5th-8th and will play the loser of today's Argentina v Korea quarte-final at 1.00am on Sunday (NZ time).

Head coach Mark Hager said the game was played at a high level and at the end of the day they couldn't respond against a good side.

"Today was another learning curve for us. We were very competitive and it's the most disciplined we have been in the tournament, especially defensively," Hager said.

"The highlight for me was our defensive structure, we only conceded one goal and kept them out of the circle for much of the game which was pleasing.

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