NZ Women power through to Rio semi finals

By Hockey NZ

The New Zealand Women are through to the semi finals following a stunning 4-2 win over trans-Tasman rivals Australia at the Rio Olympic Games.

The Kiwis led from start to finish and were unstoppable with goals from Anita McLaren, Kelsey Smith, Gemma Flynn and Olivia Merry.

New Zealand will now look to make their first ever gold medal match when they face either Great Britain or Spain in the semi finals on Thursday (NZ time).

Head coach Mark Hager said it was a brilliant effort from his side which now sets them up for the chance to win a medal.

"Australia put us under a lot of pressure early on but the girls hung in and relaxed which gave us a lot of belief," he said.

"We worked bloody hard throughout the game, if youre going to win medals you need everyone playing well and we certainly did that.

"The next two games are going to be harder. Were in with the chance of a medal so we will go away and prepare for an even better performance next up."

Defender Sam Charlton said the result was just the beginning for her side, who are eyeing a gold medal in Rio.

"We knew it was going to be a really tough game, with Australia its whoever wants it most on the day and I honestly think every one of our girls wanted it more than they did," she said.

"This is just the start for us, we need to improve ahead of the next game which will be even bigger than this one."

New Zealand opened the scoring in the sixth minute when Anita McLaren sent a penalty corner drag flick rocketing into the top of the net.

Midway through the second quarter the Kiwis doubled their lead from another penalty corner with Kelsey Smith getting a fine deflection on a shot from Kayla Whitelock.

Australia responded following a halftime deficit and clawed one back thanks to a Kathryn Slattery penalty corner goal shortly after the break.

New Zealand grabbed a 3-1 buffer in the 38th minute when Stacey Michelsen went on a brilliant run and found Gemma Flynn in front of an open goal for an easy knock in.

Olivia Merry provided the killer blow three minutes later after getting a deft deflection on a hard shot at goal from Charlotte Harrison.

Slattery scored a consolation goal for the Hockeyroos, her second of the game, just out from the final whistle.

New Zealand 4: (Anita McLaren, Kelsey Smith, Gemma Flynn, Olivia Merry)

Australia 2: (Kathryn Slattery 2)

Halftime: New Zealand 2-0

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Hockey NZ

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