The Vantage Black Sticks have struck form once again with a commanding 4-1 result over Japan at the Pioneer Energy Women’s Tri Nations in Cromwell.
New Zealand warmed into the match swiftly and found themselves leading inside the opening 10 minutes after Madi Doar struck from the field.
Carrying their advantage into halftime, the Black Sticks doubled the buffer in the 33rd minute with Olivia Merry finding the back of the net.
Japan pegged one back just minutes later when Yuri Nagai converted from a penalty corner opportunity.
But New Zealand controlled the fourth quarter and stamped their authority with Anita McLaren (49’) and Kelsey Smith (54’) both scoring from penalty corners.
Head coach for the series Sean Dancer said it was a pleasing result and one that gives them confidence going forward in the series.
“It was good to get a win and was a much more cohesive team performance tonight, particularly in the second half,” he said.
“Defensively everyone worked very hard for each other and we were able to contain the majority of Japan’s attack. We played with good energy and some impressive attacking combinations while Anita and Kelsey added the intensity required in our midfield to gain the upper hand.
“It’s now time to refocus and prepare for tomorrow’s rematch against Australia who have been impressive in the series so far.”
Striker Kirsten Pearce played her 100th international test in the victory.
The Vantage Black Sticks play their final round robin match at 6:30pm tomorrow night where they will be looking for revenge against old foes Australia who beat them 4-1 on Sunday.
The Pioneer Energy Women’s Tri Nations is proudly supported by presenting partner Pioneer Energy and the Central Otago District Council.
Odds for games at the Tri Nations are available at www.tab.co.nz along with a special promotion. Simply download the TAB app, set up a new account, deposit $20 using the promo code ‘HOCKEY’ and TAB will boost your account with a further $20 as well as give $20 to Hockey New Zealand.
VANTAGE BLACK STICKS 4: (Madi Doar 8’, Olivia Merry 33’, Anita McLaren 49’, Kelsey Smith 54’)
JAPAN 1: (Yuri Nagai 35’)
Halftime: NZ 1-0