The New Zealand women's hockey side has lost 3-2 to China in Hamilton in the first of two Tests.
China dominated the first 20 minutes with more pace and accuracy and scored two field goals.
But the young Black Sticks showed the benefit of their three Tests against the world number twos Argentina.
They had only three scoring chances in the first half and did well to convert two with a Katie Glynn field goal then Clarissa Eshuis scoring from a penalty corner.
The Black Sticks went close to scoring several times in the second half but China broke the deadlock late with a penalty corner deflection.
The second Test is tonight in Pukekohe at 6.30pm.